People, Environment

Ministry Warns of Rationing Water

Ministry Warns of Rationing WaterMinistry Warns of Rationing Water

The continuing rise in water usage has had officials contemplating stricter measures to curb water use, including rationing the precious resource in some cities and villages, according to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

Chitchian said the rigorous treatment and supply of potable water cost 10 times more than the water used for irrigating farmlands and called for the judicious use of drinking water, Mehr News Agency reported.

Over 90% of the country’s water resources are used in the agriculture sector. Experts have repeatedly criticized the cultivation of water-intensive crops, such as watermelons, and have called on officials to address the problem sooner rather than later.

Asked why the ministry is cracking down on drinking water use while wasteful farming practices are taking a heavier toll on Iran’s water resources, the minister said, “The quality of potable water is much higher than irrigation water and incurs heavier costs.

“Furthermore, there are only a limited number of resources that can be used to supply drinking water.”

The minister conceded that Iran’s old, worn-out water pipes contribute to the country’s monumental wastage of water and said, “About 13% of Iran’s water are wasted by 30-year-old supply systems. Around $295 million are needed to save only 1%.”

Chitchian said water wastage occurs all over the world, and Iran’s main management policy is to control water by using pressure regulators.

News broke earlier this month that daily water use of Tehran’s residents averaged 250 to 255 liters per person, leaving them only 40 liters shy of the province’s maximum available water per person.

“We have tried to increase Tehran’s water supply by constructing Karaj, Latian, Lar, Mamlou and Taleqan dams. There is no more surface water left for us to use,” Rahim Meydani, the ministry’s deputy for water affairs, said at the time.

“If injudicious use of water continues, extremely complicated issues will ensue.”

Prior to the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 2015), officials at the ministry had warned that water would be rationed during summer, but the ministry did not act on its warning, thanks to unexpected rainfall in spring.