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Managing water supplies replaces building dams in Iran

Iran is among numerous countries which face water crisis as one of the primary challenges in the coming decades. Experts believe the water issue is reaching an alarming level considering Iran's immense size, semi-arid climate and defining topographical features as well as droughts that are drying waterways and depleting groundwater.

Therefore, considering the important role of water in development, the country is determined to draw up a national water-conservation plan to ensure supplies. During the past couple of years, dozens of dams have been built in different regions in Iran, but some of them are working only with 10 to 20 percent of their capacities. Recent dry spells and a consequent 40-percent fall in surface runoff have made the administration decide to shift the focus away from building dams and move towards implementation of water supply plans. The energy ministry is willing to reconsider some of the dams. "We believe that implementing water supply plans, expanding the country's water infrastructure, and developing dams must all be done based on careful studies. We need to reconsider the plans for dams that have not been implemented properly, and such re-engineering must sort out the problems and correct the deficiencies", says Alireza Daemi, Iran's deputy energy minister. The main goals the energy ministry is seeking to achieve are: minimizing the water loss in water transfer lines and distribution networks, correctly implementing the article 44 of Iran's constitution which will support the private sector's role in water supply, and using finance and loans from international banks in order to expand water distribution system which currently provides running water for 99% and 75% of Iranians respectively in urban and rural areas.

Another solution sought for improving the water supply is to optimize the water consumption in agriculture sector. Merely 10 percent saving water in agriculture sector will defuse the water crisis for mega cities. The energy ministry tries to change consumption pattern among people. Iranians' per capita water consumption is well above global average and that's why adequate education must be delivered particularly to urban residents to consume water more wisely.


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