Baku, Azerbaijan, May 16
Recovering the used groundwater reserves in Iran is impossible, Sattar Mahmoudi, the Islamic Republic's deputy minister of energy said.
The level of the country's aquifers has fallen by 20 meters due to inappropriate use of water resources during the past few years, Mahmoudi said.
The volume of excessive water extraction from the country's water resources amounted for some 100 billion cubic meters in recent years, the official said, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported May 16.
Alongside with the consumption beyond the reserves' capacity, the average annual rainfall in the country also has negatively affected the aquifers, he added.
The Islamic Republic is located in an arid zone and the country faces a serious water shortage crisis. However, many experts believe that the current water shortage problem is a result of water resources mismanagement, rather than the drought.
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.
Issa Kalantari, secretary general of Iran's House of Farmers and former agriculture minister, said last year that Iran's water crisis was more of a threat to the country than "Israel, the US or political infighting."
Kalantari went on to say that if the water issue is not addressed, Iran could become a place where no one can live.
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