People, Environment

Looking South to Quench Thirst

Looking South to Quench Thirst Looking South to Quench Thirst

The Energy Ministry is set to begin transferring water from Iran’s southern regions to the central Iranian Plateau in a bid to help curb the impact of drought.

Quoting Hamidreza Janbaz, an advisor to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, Mehr News Agency reports that Japan will cooperate with the ministry on the project.

“With the easing of sanctions, Iran and Japan will expand their cooperation in the water sector,” he said.

While Janbaz did not disclose details nor name specific area and body of water to be used for the project, some speculate that the ministry has targeted the Sea of Oman.

Originally, the ministry had planned to distribute water to central Iran from the Caspian Sea in the north, but the Department of Environment opposed the idea, citing irreversible environmental damage.

Pointing to the country’s 14-year struggle with drought, Janbaz said transferring water from the sea will help reduce the growing impact of water shortage on people’s livelihoods.

Some, including former agriculture minister, Isa Kalantari, believe Iran’s water problems will eventually displace 50 million people if not addressed.

Aside from the problems associated with the transfer of sea water, procedures involved in the treatment and desalination of water demand modern equipment and facilities.

“While most of the equipment we use is Iranian, we do need advanced technology to treat and desalinate the water, and that’s where the Japanese tech comes in,” Janbaz noted.

Once the project is complete, about 2 million cubic meters of water per day will be pumped to central Iran.

Water experts have repeatedly called for policy reforms and advanced irrigation systems to tackle Iran’s huge water shortage, suggesting that the root cause of the problem is mismanagement and waste, and not the shortage of the precious resource.