Tehran, Iran, September 27
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Traditional irrigation is responsible for the current water shortage in Iran which is heading toward crisis, a water management director has said.
If modern technology is used, there will be no need to worry about an impending drought, Ebrahim Vazir, CEO of Tehran Azud water treatment company told Trend September 27.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture needs to cooperate with the private sector to use the latest technology in irrigation.
While the Iranian government encourages households to reduce their water consumption, statistics reveal that over 90 percent of the country's water is consumed in agriculture.
Agriculture in Iran accounts for about one-fourth of the gross national product and employs about two-fifths of the labor force.
Because of its unique ecology, Iran is the largest fruit producer in the Middle East and North Africa where the diversity of climatic zones makes it possible to cultivate a variety of crops.
Gardening is done on 2.6 million hectares of land, including 800,000 hectares of orchards irrigated with pressurized systems.
If the country can treat industrial wastewater and prepared it for use in agriculture or back in industries, a lot of resources will be saved, Vazir added.
Realizing an impending water crisis, the Iranian government has at times discussed importing water from neighbor countries such as Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The amount of precipitation has decreased in average by 25 percent, compared to previous years, Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said September 12.
Over 600 dams have been built in Iran over the past 30 years, holding 48 billion cubic meters of water.
Iran's renewable water resources declined from 130 billion cubic meters to 110 billion cubic meters a year.
Iran is located in the arid zone, and drought has been repeatedly observed in the country for the last 40 years. Drought of 1992-2002 caused great damage to the country's crop production field. Several cities, including Tehran, introduced quota for drinking water.