People, Environment

Iran Facing 5.7 bcm Annual Water Deficit

the government aims to get rid of water deficit by 2021.the government aims to get rid of water deficit by 2021.

Iran’s annual water deficit is about 5.7 billion cubic meters, which officials hope to compensate by 2021.

Mohammad Hajrasouliha, chief executive of Iran’s Water Resources Management Company (a subsidiary of the Energy Ministry), was quoted as saying by Mizan News Agency that the deficit will be reduced by about a billion cubic meters by the end of the current Iranian year (ends March 20, 2017).

“By sealing 20,000 illegal water wells, we’ll be able to save one billion cubic meters of water this year,” he said, adding that the WRMC has formed 800 teams tasked with searching for and sealing unauthorized wells across the country.

Hajrasouliha noted that the government aims to get rid of water deficit by 2021, when the sixth five-year economic development plan ends.

Years of mismanagement, excessive consumption, wasteful farming practices and climatic conditions such as drought and increasing temperatures have taken a toll on Iran’s water resources, which have always been on the low side given the country’s location in one of the world’s most water-stressed and arid regions.

Official reports say nearly 5,000 villages across the country are struggling with varying degrees of water scarcity. To remedy the problem, Iran’s Energy Ministry has come up with 233 plans to build dams, expand the water network and implement 120 projects for supplying water to drought-hit regions.

About 93 dam construction projects have top-priority status.

The government has allocated 40 trillion rials ($1.2 billion) to the ministry and its subsidiaries in the current Iranian year (started March 20) to carry out the schemes, while roughly 76 trillion rials ($2.2 billion) are needed to complete 924 incomplete water projects.

Rainwater harvesting, judicious water use (especially in the agro sector that guzzles more than 90% of the country’s water resources), promoting modern  irrigation techniques, recycling wastewater, separating potable water from wastewater and implementation of watershed plans are among measures suggested by experts to help conserve water.

Environmentalists, social scientists and the cross-section of academia and media have for years appealed to the masses to cut water consumption and called on officials to undertake meaningful reforms, but to no avail.

There is a strong consensus that if water consumption patterns do not change in the near future, many parts of the country will turn into barren desert while entire towns and villages will become uninhabitable.