Water Crisis Worsening

Water Crisis Worsening Water Crisis Worsening

The water crisis in Iran was highlighted by the head of the ‘Agriculture House’ and former agriculture minister Issa Kalantari during a recent water conference in Khorasan Razavi Province.  Outlining the scale and scope of the rapidly deteriorating problem, he said the water crisis has now reached a “critical stage” and is a “challenge for all provinces.”

Speaking at the gathering at the prestigious Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, Kalantari expressed serious concern of the pattern of water shortage across the country and urged those in charge in the government to revisit and overhaul “water management issues and create the conditions for judicious and sustainable consumption” of this precious and finite resource.

Kalantari added that so far “600 lakes and underground water tables are on the verge of drying up and the water scarcity in Iran has crossed the critical threshold and turned into a national crisis.”

Calling for rapid and joint action by authorities, organizations and the people to focus on ways to curb water consumption in all sectors, he said the agricultural sector alone “consumes 88 billion cubic meters of water per year whereas a sustainable annual consumption rate in this sector should be in the region of 28 billion.”

Elaborating on the monumental water waste in the key agricultural sector in Iran, the known water expert said “agriculture accounts for only about 13% of the GDP but uses almost 90 percent of the country’s total water resources.”

An official from the ministry of energy, Shahin Pakrouh, believes that the unacceptably high water consumption in the agro sector cannot be sustained by any degree of logic and reason and “must be reduced to 40 percent with the help of modern irrigation techniques.”

He complained that the current water tariff is merely 40 percent while the remaining amount is subsidized by the government that has often said in recent years that it does not have the money to foot such huge and expanding subsidy bills. “Removing water subsidies is now on the government agenda.”

Pakrouh blamed “low water tariffs, poor management and the pure lack of conformity with sustainable consumption patterns” for the excessive water consumption and waste, and stressed that “lifting subsidies will produce more realistic water charges,” which by extension should reduce consumption and waste.