People, Environment

MP Floats Idea of Bartering Water

MP Floats Idea of Bartering WaterMP Floats Idea of Bartering Water

Iran must enter serious talks with Afghanistan and Tajikistan over the barter of electricity for water, the spokesman of the Majlis Energy Commission said on Friday.

Speaking to ILNA, Hussein Amiri Khamkani said, “Given our neighbors’ struggle to produce enough electricity, we can trade our electricity for their water.”

Khamkani, who represents Kerman Province’s Zarand and Kouhbanan cities in Parliament, said Iran is in a position to help its neighboring countries meet their growing power needs.

Afghanistan has its own water problems. In fact, the severity of the country’s water crisis has rendered its government unable to uphold the water rights of the imperiled Hamoun Wetlands on the Iran-Afghanistan border.

While Tajikistan has surplus water, analyses by reputable organizations, such as the UK-based Oxfam, indicate the Central Asian state could well be facing a shortage of water in the coming decades as a result of climate change that is gradually emerging as a universal concern.

  Waste and Mismanagement

Isa Kalantari, a former agriculture minister and now a senior environmental advisor to the government, is a staunch opponent of the idea and has repeatedly warned against it.

“Iran might be able to import a limited amount of water [from neighboring states], but that will not solve anything,” he told the Persian daily Forsat-e-Emrooz in May.

Elaborating on his stance against water import, Kalantari, who is an advisor to First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri on water affairs, claimed water shortage is not the main problem.

“The most pressing issue that needs to be addressed is mismanagement. Even if we end up importing water from the Moon, we will again end up in this mess as long as we continue to manage water poorly.”

Water consumption and management is a major point of contention among environmentalists and policy and decision makers in recent years. Most experts and government officials insist that waste and high consumption, especially in agriculture, is the primary culprit as it uses almost 90% of the fast diminishing resource of which “70% is wasted.”

Kalantari has warned that if the present water crisis is not addressed the country will “turn into barren desert” within the next four decades and trigger mass migration “affecting 70% of the population.” According to the senior official Iran has already “exploited 97% of its surface waters.”