Iran can lose 78% of plains due to water crisis

Business Materials 22 September 2014 17:53 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 22

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Senior Iranian official says that nearly 78 percent of the Iranian plains are turning into deserts due to severe fall of the ground water level.

The country faces serious depletion of the groundwater sources mainly due to over-using these resources, Rahim Meydani, Iran's deputy energy minister said, the official IRNA news agency reported Sept. 22.

The groundwater levels have dropped two meters in recent years across 70 plains, accounting for as much as 100 million hectares, according to the Iranian Institute for Forest and Pasture Research.

Meydani went on to add that the energy ministry has submitted a plan to the High Council for Water for restoration of the groundwater sources.

According to the plan, the water consumption in agriculture sector should be decreased by 25 percent, he said.

The agriculture ministry should take serious steps for improving irrigation methods to increase the water consumption efficiency, Meydani said.

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(FAO).

Up to 70 percent of water used in the agriculture sector is being wasted, Iranian officials say.

The Islamic Republic is located in an arid zone and the country faces a serious water shortage crisis, however Meydani believes that the current water shortage problem is a result of water resources mismanagement, rather than the drought.