By Sara Rajabova
Iran’s energy minister called on the people to limit their water consumption in order to prevent water cuts over the summer months.
Hamid Chitchian has warned of possible water supply cuts and rationing this summer, calling on the public to slash consumption.
As summer is near Iran’s water shortage problem started to grow acute, with more cities hit by this problem.
Chitchian said the only way the ministry will be able to avoid cuts will be for the people to control and limit their consumption as well as help the Energy Ministry save water, Press TV reported.
He noted that Iran is grappling with a slump in precipitations which have seen groundwater reserves deplete sharply amid a rise in temperatures.
These factors coupled with mounting evaporations have coincided with sweeping programs to exploit more water resources, draining many effluent rivers including Iran’s iconic Karoun.
Chitchian said the ministry will do all it can to avoid a scenario where cities have to suffer supply disruption.
Iran is located in an arid zone and the country has faced a serious water shortage crisis over the past several years. The government has taken some measures to get out of the current ecological situation however it has been unable to address the problem so far.
Officials blame Iran’s water crisis on the changing climate and frequent droughts. However, they have also warned that careless consumption is already deteriorating the situation.
Chitchian said his ministry has offered farmers to shut down their pumps during the hottest hours and be granted with free of charge extraction of water from deep wells for the rest of the day.
A relatively wet season this year has failed to replenish vital aquifers. Officials say many of the country’s dams built for either irrigation or power generation have been reduced to 40 percent of their capacity.
Esmaeil Najjar, a deputy minister of interior and head of Iran Crisis Management Organization has recently said more than 500 Iranian cities are struggling with drinking water shortage.
The government has plans to diminish water consumption in the agriculture sector from 92 percent to 87 percent in view of helping improve water supplies in cities and villages. But this requires a wide scale overhaul of the country's irrigation system in addition to publicity.
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.