People, Environment

Plans to Cut Water Deficit

Plans to Cut Water Deficit
Plans to Cut Water Deficit

Water officials have prepared five-year plans to reduce Iran’s annual water deficit, according to an Energy Ministry official.

The next economic development plan (2016-21), which will go into effect in March, contains 15 projects aimed at reviving water reserves.

“Eleven projects will be carried out by the Energy Ministry, with the Ministry of Agriculture supervising three projects and the Geological Survey of Iran in charge of one,” Javad Meybodi, director of the Water and Wastewater Management Systems, was quoted as saying by ILNA.

If successful, the projects will help reduce the water deficit by 6 billion cubic meters. There is no consensus on Iran’s current water deficit, but reports put the annual shortfall at anything between 10 billion to 30 billion cubic meters.

Elaborating on the details of the projects, Meybodi said the plans also call for the establishment of Water User Associations (also known as Water User Boards), made up of groups of water users who pool their financial, technical, material, and human resources for the operation and maintenance of a water system.

The plans involve close monitoring of illegal well digging as well as installing smart meters on wells using electric and diesel pumps.  Raising public awareness about the need to consume judiciously and the effects of the worsening water crisis  are also covered in the schemes.

Experts believe that urbanization, years of mismanagement and outdated farming practices — which guzzle 90% of the country’s scarce  water resources — are to blame for the critical water problem that threatens to turn vast swathes of the country into barren desert and  wasteland if quick and effective conservation measures are not taken, especially in the agro sector.