$45Bln allocated to combat against drought in Isfahan province in Iran

Photo: $45Bln allocated to combat against drought in Isfahan province in Iran / Iran

1,350 billion rials (USD $45Bln) is allocated to combat against the lingering drought in Isfahan province, First Vice President Esˈhaq Jahangiri said Monday, IRNA reported.

Jahangiri stressed the need for planning and management for the countryˈs water resources in different parts of Iran, especially in Isfahan province.

He referred to economizing in water usage in agricultural activities, reviewing the type of agricultural plantation, refraining from planting products that need excess amount of water, such as rice and not issuing permits for water-based industries as measured for water management in emergency situations.

As temperatures continue to soar in the summer, water scarcity in Iran is becoming a national issue. For the past 14 years Iran has experienced some of its worst droughts partly because of climate change exacerbated by over exploitation of surface and underground resources. Scientists say that frustrated groundwater supplies will take years to restore and with the current situation an already semi arid country is rapidly heading towards becoming a vast desert.

In the traditional method plant roots are soaked in running streams of water extracted from wells that go deeper and deeper as resources closer to the ground dry up. New irrigation methods are only used in a small part of Iran's agriculture sector.

The government has plans to diminish water consumption in the agriculture sector from 92 percent to 87 percent. But this requires a wide scale overhaul of the country's irrigation system in addition to publicity. Providing a growing population with standard tab water has also become a challenge for the government.

The national water and waste water engineering company that tab water is heavily subsidized and Iranians pay only 35 percent of what they should be paying. The government says that lowering water consumption in agriculture will help improve water supplies in cities and villages. Iran currently needs long term solutions that go beyond conservation if it wants to restore its resources.

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