People, Environment

Call for Employing Biotech to Tackle Water Crisis

Iran is draining 110% of its renewable resources while the standard withdrawal is 40%. Iran is draining 110% of its renewable resources while the standard withdrawal is 40%.

Iran’s top environment official warned that the ongoing water crisis, if left unchecked, could pose a grave threat to national security in the coming years, calling for the adoption of biotechnology to improve water conservation and optimize consumption.

“Water [shortage] is on track to becoming the single serious threat to the national security and stability. Biotechnology should be employed to help tackle the water crisis,” Isa Kalantari, the head of the Department of Environment, told a national conference on biotechnology on Thursday.

It is not the first time an official has sounded an alarm about the critical water situation that has emerged as a top public concern at the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani’s first tenure in 2013.

However, Kalantari did not explain how biotech can help overcome the water crisis.

After his reelection in July to serve a second four-year term, Rouhani appointed Kalantari as the head of DOE to tackle environmental crises.

He replaced Massoumeh Ebtekar who was the target of constant criticism, particularly from the government’s conservative opponents, for the perceived failure to tackle some of the toughest environmental challenges, including the water crisis.  

Kalantari noted that Iran is among seven countries facing a critical situation for consuming over 40% of renewable water resources.

“The other six countries are using over 60% of their renewable water supplies, while Iran is draining 110% of its resources,” he said.

The DEO chief cautioned that water resources are being extracted much faster than they can be replenished.

“There exist 88 million cubic meters of renewable water in the country, but the volume being consumed stands at 97 million cubic meters,” he said.

Officials say at least 90% of Iran’s natural water resources have already been depleted to meet the domestic needs and relying on natural reserves is no longer viable.

Kalantari said over half of the environmental problems stems from the water crisis.

“Water shortage is the source of 75% of the country’s environmental problems, with the rest attributable to other issues like air pollution and extinction of species,” he said.

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 over the last 10 years.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints