Iran's water crisis deepening
By Sara Rajabova
Water shortage problem in Iran, which is experiencing a range of drastic ecological and environmental problems, is becoming more severe by the day.
Alireza Nozaripur, the deputy chief of the DOE control water sewer in Iran’s Tehran province, has said the level of groundwater in Tehran declined by 1.5 meters over the last year.
He brought to the attention the great shortage of water resources in the Tehran province, Mehr news agency reported.
Nozaripur added that on average 250 mm rainfall falls in Iran per year and for the Tehran province the figure stands at 235 mm. Meanwhile, the province consumes 350 million cubic meters of water per year.
Nozaripur also noted that foreign investors will present a project to build a plant for wastewater treatment in the province of Tehran worth at 260 million euros.
Iran is located in an arid zone and the country has been facing a serious water shortage crisis over the past several years. For the past 40 years, the country has been repeatedly experiencing drought. Drought in 1992-2002 caused great damage to the country's crop production field. Another period of drought in Iran began in the summer of 2008.
Drought also causes many problems for population, as the dust storms are frequently observed in those areas. Besides, the water shortage problem further complicates the daily life of the people. However, many experts believe that the current water shortage problem is a result of water resources mismanagement, rather than the drought.
The government has taken some measures to extricate itself out of the current ecological situation. However, it has not been able to address the problem so far.
Therefore, the country has increased efforts to expand the cooperation with foreign countries to tackle the ecological problems.
Japan has allocated a grant of $1 million to a project for reducing the amount of non-revenue water in Iran. The project is to be carried out in the city of Khansar, Isfahan Province in central Iran, IRIB news agency reported.
Hamid Reza Tashayoee, Water and Wastewater Engineering Co. Deputy CEO said Khansar beat the record in Iran for NRW as the loss of water in this city is 60 percent.
He said the project is going to be a unique one of its kind in the world and it will reduce the city’s non-revenue water to 15-17 percent.
The NRW percentage in Iran is about 26 percent in average, 14 percent of which is water that goes waste in pipes.
Japan is highly experienced in water management. The country’s NRW at the end of WWII was 80 percent whereas now it is four percent.
The high rate of real water losses in Iran is mainly linked with the old-fashioned pipeline network in distribution systems, invisible leakage, ground breakage and the water pressure on the system.
More than 500 Iranian cities are currently 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.
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.