Iran sets up special headquarters to address water crisis

9 March 2015 21:54 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Rajabova

Iran has formed special headquarters to tackle its water shortage problem, which has generated great difficulties for the country over the past several years.

Hamid Chitchian, Iran’s energy minister said the country has formed special headquarters to deal with what is feared to be an impending water crisis in the country.

He said on March 7 the High Water Council has authorized the establishment of “drought crisis headquarters” across the country, adding that their priority is to look for ways to provide drinking water to all provinces, Press TV reported.

The drought in Iran has become one of the most important topics in the country which is experiencing a range of drastic ecological and environmental problems needing to be urgently addressed.

The problem is so severe that about 67 percent of Iranian wetlands’ area has dried up, according to Iranian official.

Chitchian further said President Hassan Rouhani has approved the allocation of 12 trillion rials ($430 million) to the same effect, adding that the money will be used to avert a potential water crisis in the country in summer.

He also added that several cities including the capital Tehran, Kerman, Bandar Abbas, Hamedan and Isfahan are already in dire conditions with regards to adequate supplies of water. Therefore, emergency actions are required to prevent crisis in those cities.

Iran is located in an arid zone and the country has faced a serious water shortage crisis over the past several years. Although, the government has taken a series of measures to get out of the current ecological situation, it has been unable to address the problem so far.

Iran’s Energy Ministry also announced that about 60 percent of the reservoirs of major dams are already empty. It further said there has been a decrease of 16 percent in inflow of water into dam reservoirs from the start of autumn.

Drought causes many problems for population, as dust storms are frequently observed in those areas. Besides, the water shortage problem further complicates people's daily life.

Officials blame Iran’s water crisis on the changing climate and frequent droughts. They have also warned that careless consumption is already deteriorating the situation.

However, many experts believe that the current water shortage problem is a result of water resources mismanagement, rather than the drought.

Iran's total annual water consumption is approximately 93 billion cubic meters, out of which about 92 percent is used in agriculture (86 billion cubic meters), 6.6 percent in municipality (6.18 billion cubic meters), and 1.2 percent in industry (1.12 billion cubic meters), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Up to 70 percent of water used in the agriculture sector is being wasted, Iranian officials say.

Experts consider a proper management of water supplies is what Iran needs to end its water crisis.

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Sara Rajabova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SaraRajabova

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