Tehran Water Woes Worsening
Excessive water consumption in various sectors has severely depleted Tehran’s renewable water resources and hindered efforts to restore groundwater reserves.
“On average, only 25% of renewable resources are used to supply a region’s water demand,” Mohammad Reza Bakhtiari, chief executive of the Tehran Regional Water Authority, was quoted as saying by the Persian daily Ettelaat.
“However, in Tehran, 65% of its renewable water resources are used every year,” he added, noting that the figure is close to 85% in the country.
Bakhtiari said any region that uses more than 40% of its renewable water resources has crossed a redline.
“Injudicious consumption across Tehran Province over the past 15 years has taken a toll on the region’s water levels, so much so that we’re using 150 million cubic meters of renewable water more than we should,” he said.
Unrestrained use of water has even hampered the authorities’ plans to restore and balance groundwater resources.
“Consumption is so high that we’ve only managed to reduce the negative water balance by 15% to 20%,” he said.
To make matters worse, funds are also not made available.
The official said not a single dime of the 170 billion rials ($4.4 million) allocated to restoration projects has been made available this year (ends March 20).
There are 13,000 legal and 32,000 illegal water wells in Tehran Province. Surprisingly, legal wells account for 90% of the province’s water withdrawal.
“We need to monitor these wells and suspend the permits of those exceeding withdrawal limits,” he said.
On a positive note, Bakhtiari said Tehran has been experiencing a pleasant rainy season, which has helped ease some pressure.
“Average rainfall in the province exceeded 141 millimeters on Sunday (since the beginning of the water year on Sept. 22, 2016), which is better than last year—but make no mistake, this doesn’t mean our water problems are over,” he said.
Average precipitation in Tehran Province is expected to reach 250 milliliters by the end of the current water year.