TEHRAN – A member of the board of directors of the Institute for Forest and Pasture Research says underground water level has dropped 2 meters in 70 plains across Iran in recent years.
Mohammad Darvish, in an interview with the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency published recently, said the underground water level has dropped in 70 plains which equals approximately around 100 million hectares.
Darvish said underground water in 390,000 hectares of farmlands surrounding Urmia Lake has dropped up to 28-30 centimeters.
According to Darvish, about 110,000 water wells are operating in Iran without any license or prior permission.
In addition to Urmia Lake, other lakes like Hamoon and Bakhtegan, along with many greater underground water resources, have dried up, he lamented.
Darvish criticized the government’s self-sufficiency policy in foodstuffs and said that the policy has only led to drastic shortage in water resources in Iran.
He cited the country of Japan as an example. “Japan has never achieved self-sufficiency in foodstuffs. But the Asian state has turned into one of the leading and powerful countries in the world by increasing its per capita income,” he said.
He added, “It is expected that the new government of President-elect Rohani to put an end to all the current problems facing our domestic agriculture and to consult experts to resolve the current crises in all agricultural sectors.”
According to ORSAM Water Research Program, Iran is located in one of the most arid areas of the world. The average annual precipitation rate is 252 mm. This figure constitutes one third of the global precipitation rate. Under current climatic conditions; 179 mm (71 percent) of the rainfall evaporates. The average annual evaporation rate in Iran ranges between 1500 mm and 2000 mm. This figure is 1/3 of the world average. While this figure is 2000 mm/year in northern highlands of the country, it is 20 mm/year in desert area. Two thirds of Iran receives less rainfall than the average precipitation rate.
Massive droughts have hit different areas in Iran, and this has led to many problems. Currently, the Ministry of Energy is struggling to provide necessary water to the residents of several provinces in Iran.
Major cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd are suffering from water shortage. Due to this problem, Iran’s next administration will face an increase in costs to provide and transfer water to the provinces facing such problems.
The only way to tackle the problem is to come up with an international plan to cope with droughts in Middle Eastern countries.
Some international organizations have even predicted the outbreak of a war in the Middle East over water crisis. Governments in the Middle East must take strict measures with regard to water crisis.
The Iranian government has started projects to transfer water from seas into cities and dry lands. For example, the Ministry of Energy has launched a new project to transfer Persian Gulf water into Fars province.
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