Extreme use of renewable resources worsens water stress: official

May 26, 2018 - 21:30

TEHRAN — Iran is withdrawing some 88 percent of it renewable water resources which is exacerbating water shortage in the country, Hedayat Fahmi, an official with the Ministry of Energy has said.

Natural renewable water resources are the total amount of a country’s water resources (internal and external resources), both surface water and groundwater, which is generated through the hydrological cycle. The amount is computed on a yearly basis. Water withdrawal refers to water that has been removed from its source for a specific use. The major sectors that withdraw water are irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities.

“We should accept the fact that Iran has limited renewable water resources and the recent droughts are resulting in severe water shortages in the country,” Fahmi explained. 

Moreover, population growth intensifies water shortage, meaning that even with adequate water resources the water is only enough to quench the needs of a limited population, he added.

Withdrawing some 40 percent of the renewable water resources is acceptable and won’t pressure on water resources but exploiting 60 percent or more of the resources would result in water stress and even cries, he warned.

Fahmi went on to say that water shortage can threaten food and even national security, as water-related challenges have the potential to constitute environmental, economic and social predicaments in the region. 

He further highlighted that reforming irrigation practices is the main solution to resolve the problem.

“We had warned about water shortage in (13)70s [falling on 1990s], and had we taken heed of water use at the time in industrial and agriculture sector the situation would be different now,” he regretted. 

“Building dams is neither good nor bad, what we should know is where to construct a dam and how many dams we are allowed to build as they can prove to be effective in managing water resources or they can lead to sever water shortages,” he stated.

The most important things is to provide the water right of the wetlands to avoid bigger problems, he concluded. 



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