Fresh Appeal to Contain Water Crisis

Fresh Appeal to Contain Water Crisis Fresh Appeal to Contain Water Crisis

The spokesman of the Majlis Agriculture Committee said Tuesday that the water crisis is a countrywide quandary and not exclusive to Tehran Province. Speaking in a radio program 'Cheragh-e Sabz' (Green Light), Abbas Papizadeh expressed serious concern over the rising water problems. "For now half of Iranian cities are grappling with water shortage," wire services reported.

According to figures released by the ministry of energy, the water situation in four cities – including Tehran - has reached critical levels. The lawmaker, like most economic and water experts in recent months, was highly critical of the traditional irrigation and farming systems now deemed unsustainable and unaffordable. He appealed for the use of modern techniques in water harvesting to curb consumption and improve efficiency.

"We need to start utilizing advanced irrigation methods as in the developed nations; with 10% increase in efficiency we may be able to curb the water problem in major cities, including in Tehran."

He noted that a joint committee of the parliament last month passed a budget bill allocating almost $147 million from the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI) to help improve drinking water supply in water-stress regions.

The deputy head of the Iran Water and Wastewater Company Hamid Reza Tashi'i, who was another speaker on the program, shared Papizadeh's concerns over the intense water crises, and said, "Pessimistically speaking, over 500 cities in Iran are struggling with water shortage."

According to Tashi'i, shortage of potable water has exacerbated the situation in most provincial capitals. Meetings have been held in affected cities to brainstorm solutions."Solutions include buying water wells from the private sector and utilizing other ministries' potential water capacity to help alleviate the problem," he told listeners.

He called for more provisions for the IWWC, adding that the lack of resources has resulted in the state-owned company's subsidiaries to pile up their debts.

Wasteful farming practices going back ages gobble 90% of Iran’s scarce water, with a mere 35% efficiency which pales in comparison to the 70% in the developed world. The Department of Environment chief Masoumeh Ebtekar and respected economists have been vocal critics of unsustainable farming methods, but little has been done to reverse the dangerous trend.