People, Environment

Tough Water Year Ahead

Tough Water Year AheadTough Water Year Ahead

The Energy Ministry predicts that water stress will worsen throughout the Central Iranian Plateau over the next few months, according to an excerpt of a report published Monday on the ministry's website.

The central plateau encompasses the provinces of Yazd, Isfahan, Kerman and Fars.

Experts say at least 90% of Iran's natural water resources have already been used to meet the country's needs and relying on natural reserves is no longer viable.

Based on information released by the ministry, available surface water throughout the plateau since the beginning of the current water year (Sept. 22) has declined by 25% compared to the previous year.

Maharlou and Bakhtegan plains have experienced a 75% decline in surface water volume, recording the highest decrease in the plateau.

Water discharge in other regions has also decreased, including the eastern edges of the plateau (down 57% to 33 million cubic meters), Urmia Lake (36% to 324 mcm) and Caspian Sea (23% to 1.4 billion cubic meters), as well as the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea (22% to 7.2 bcm).

Comparative data analyses of total discharge rate of surface waters during fall and the same period of last year show a 23% decline.

Overall, total surface water discharge in Iran in Sept. 22–Dec. 22 has dropped by 23%, from 13.8 bcm last year to 10.7 bcm.

Many analysts say Iran's water reserves are adequate to supply the needs of its 80-million-strong population, but poor management and excessive consumption have made things difficult.

Located in one of the world's most water-stressed regions, Iran's average precipitation rate has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years.

The country's nearly two-decade struggle with drought, combined with high consumption and waste, has led to renewable water resources dropping to under 120 bcm. However, by some accounts, this figure is closer is 88 bcm.

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