People, Environment

Modern Irrigation Promotes Water Conservation

Modern Irrigation Promotes Water ConservationModern Irrigation Promotes Water Conservation

A plan to implement modern irrigation systems across 250 hectares of land is expected to help save 1.1 billion cubic meters of water, increase production by 30% and reduce the use of seeds, pesticides and fertilizers by 25%.

The scheme, which is in line with the policies of Resistance Economy, is aimed at boosting efficiency to achieve sustainable production of crops and improve the food security index.

Saving 4,400 cubic meters of water per hectare every year to help replenish aquifers is another major objective of the project.

The plan was initiated early this Iranian year (started March 20) in farmlands across the country, including central Iran that lacks water reserves.

“So far, 13,000 hectares have been equipped with modern irrigation systems and 60,000 hectares are currently being outfitted,” Abbas Zare’, the project manager, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He added that the installation of new systems has helped significantly increase the production of wheat, corn and pistachio.

“One cubic meter of irrigated land can now produce 1,500 grams of wheat, between 90 and 110 tons of corn, or 2,700 grams of pistachio,” he said.

Prior to upgrading irrigation systems, the figures were much lower: 600 grams of wheat, 40-45 tons of corn and 700 grams of pistachio.

Pointing to the efficiency of the method, Zare’ said it has increased crop yield despite the area under cultivation becoming smaller.

“The production of crops such as wheat, potato and onion has risen although smaller portions of land are cultivated,” he said.

The official said the project must be funded by both the government and private enterprises.

Annually, 24 trillion rials ($685 million at market exchange rate) has to be supplied by the government and the private sector is required to spend 4.2 trillion rials ($122 million).

However, no budget has been allocated by the government so far and the current progress has been made possible by relying on private stakeholders’ investments.

Zare’ called on all relevant governmental bodies to cooperate to achieve sustainable agriculture by effectively managing water, preventing excessive water withdrawal and setting restrictions for water consumption.