Australia Extends Water Management Expertise

What has remained from the country’s water resources should be tactfully monitored and controlled.What has remained from the country’s water resources should be tactfully monitored and controlled.

Water authorities from Iran and Australia met in a two-day conference titled "Water Guide Dialogue" in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, late last week, to discuss Iran's water crisis. Given Australia's successful experience in setting efficient water policies in the battle against drought and its climatic similarity to Iran, the dialogue was held to make use of the country's expertise in the field, IRNA reported.

Will Farker, the head of Australian delegation, underlined the strong effect of water on both political and economic affairs, and suggested involving the private sector in water management programs both in the industrial and household sectors.

"What has remained from the country's water resources should be tactfully monitored and controlled," he said.

"Large-scale agriculture with limited water has been a radical challenge in Australia too, but what we do is to make a balance between consumption and preservation."  

Farker concluded that a comprehensive plan should be devised to cover all embattled water resources, including lakes, ground and surface waters as well as wetlands.

"The plan will be challenged even if only one of the lakes dries up due to inaction or carelessness," he said.

Jalal Kalantari, assistant deputy for legal and international affairs at the Foreign Ministry, said the major problem in water management plans implemented so far is that they are not integrated. Pointing to the sensitivity of water scarcity in Iran and the main role of public in curbing the issue, Kalantari said the society will not care about the growing problem until they personally feel the effects of drought on their own and the next generation's lives. Iran is a semi-arid country that has long been struggling with drought. Yet, about 92% of the country’s water resources are used up by unsustainable and wasteful farming practices.

Experts predict that the country’s water scarcity will hit crisis level by 2025, when renewable water will be less than 1,000 cubic meters per capita, down from 2,000 cubic meters in 1950.

They say if water consumption patterns do not change in the near future, many parts of the country will turn into barren desert and entire towns and villages will become uninhabitable.

The event held on Jan. 6-7 was a follow up of "Governance and Public Policy" conference held in Sharif University of Technology in Tehran on Friday.


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