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Tackling Water Crisis Remains Top Priority

Tackling Water Crisis Remains Top PriorityTackling Water Crisis Remains Top Priority

Tackling the water crisis, and also its economic and social impacts, has been given top priority by the government. The extensive periods of drought and climate change in the past years and the consequences were widespread affecting other issues, Minister of Energy Hamid Chitchian said at a conference on Water Resource Management.

The amount of precipitation which was once 250 millimeters has dropped to 242 millimeters and the volume of renewable waters, previously 130 billion cubic meters has fallen to 120 billion cubic meters. Measurements by weather stations indicate that water levels of waterways have also declined by fifty percent, reported ILNA.

Half the plains in the country now have negative ground water balance. Due to water shortage and exhaustion of underground water reserves - subsidence - yet another risk factor, threatens Tehran. “All this seriously endangers the infrastructure and foundations of buildings. To address the issue, the dangerously low levels of water reserves must be restored by injecting treated wastewater back into plains,” the minister stressed.

Supplying drinking water in metropolises has become a pressing issue and “water shortage situation is particularly aggravated in the Central Alborz provinces and the capital Tehran.”

 Intractable

With a population aggregate of more than 17.5 billion in Tehran, Karaj, and Qazvin, the water crisis is becoming intractable. Although scientific and technical methods have been introduced to control population growth in Tehran, “more and more people from rural areas continue to leave their hometowns and resettle in urban regions,” he said.

Dams have been constructed at all accessible rivers and almost every potential water resource has been exploited. However, “the rapid population growth and inappropriate spatial planning have created a major challenge for water management in Alborz and Tehran,” the minister noted.

Tehran is currently guzzling water from the reservoirs of Lar, Mamlu, Taleqan, and Karaj dams, which were initially built to provide water for other regions. Scarce water supplies combined with the increased usage in Tehran are also squeezing neighboring areas, the official stated.

 Higher Tariffs

Overworked water utilities, some of which date back to over five decades, also pose a threat to the water supply in cities. “Revenue earned from water sales is much lower than the cost of providing water and as long as this substantial gap remains, reconstruction projects and optimization of water networks cannot be funded,” he pointed out.

Imposing higher tariffs on water could help improve consumption patterns and in the long run replenish the drained reserves, he reiterated.    

Addressing the water crisis requires a multilateral approach which should incorporate technical, social, economical, and environmental aspects alike. Water harvesting systems to collect and treat rain water for use in irrigation of home gardens need to be installed and more water efficient technologies should be introduced on a wider scale, the minister added.

Financialtribune.com