Expert predicts Iran to meet period of wet spells

January 8, 2019 - 9:52

TEHRAN – Statistics show that Iran’s weather patterns are changing toward entering a period of consecutive rainy days, but given the country’s climate characteristic constantly experiencing intense wet and dry spells, it is necessary to prevent high water consumption, faculty member of the Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands has said.

Rainfall extremes during spring and autumn this year slowly questioned the conception that Iran is experiencing a long-term drought and some of the experts announced that wet spell will embrace the country for 20 years.
Since the beginning of the current crop year (September 23, 2018) up to December 23, 2018, the whole country has received some 91.6 millimeters of precipitation which demonstrates a 47.6 percent increase compared to its long term mean of 62 mm, according to the statistic published by the Meteorological Organization.

Inquired whether the country will be having a wet spell, Mohammad Darvish explained that the water year in the country begins on September 23 up to the next year’s September 22, so this year’s spring rainfalls are not considered in the current water year, but from the beginning of autumn only precipitation rate has exceeded compared to the same period last year and also the long term mean, which demonstrates a pass from recurrent droughts.

Moreover, in comparison to the fifty-year long-term average, except for the eastern border areas, which is still receiving lower rainfall than its long-term average, the rest of the country has met above normal precipitation rates compared to the long-term means, he further stated.

The Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman are experiencing the best rainfall condition receiving 197.5 mm of rain, which indicates a 63.6 percent increase in mean precipitation since past 50 years, and a 335 percent increase compared to the last year, he highlighted.

“So, the statistics shows that in the last four months the country entered a period of heavier downpours and wet spells, but the conception that drought will be over in the country is not accurate or reliable due to not being scientific.”

He went to explain that Iran being located in an arid and semi-arid region, is frequently experiencing dry and wet spells, as precipitation rates might differ about 70 to 80 percent from one year to another, he noted, adding, the climate characteristics of areas in arid parts of the world are not predictable based on conventional meteorological models, and we need to manage our lives in such a way that we have the least dependence on soil and water resources, as not to be easily affected by such changes. 

This year, rainfall in eastern border areas have exceeded 769 percent compared to the same period last year, however, this year only 11.3 mm poured in the area in comparison to the last year mean of almost zero millimeter, he lamented, adding, therefore, the high rainfall growth rates recent statistics does not mean that it compensates for the drought in recent years.

He also explained that instead of curbing water usage, it is essential to avoid loss of water and optimize water consumption in different fields, for instance, dam constructing and water transfer must come to a halt, and water-intensive industries and activities must determine wastewater reuse, and treatment.

Yazd province is among the four regions having the highest amount of water loss, which was once among the first area building qanats and doing a fair share in using water, he regretted.

He also added that it happens due to a misconception of water is always available, and if not, water will be transferred from Karun and Zayandehrud rivers, this is while province of Isfahan’s condition is even worse.

This revels that we took no single step to increase people awareness of water preciousness and shortage, in addition to not legislating any laws in this regard, considering fines or punishment for citizens taking water for granted or rewarding those being careful, he also highlighted.

Referring to the poor water billing system in the country, Darvish noted that there are buildings in the capital consisting of 40 housing units while sharing a common water metering device, which will have a water bill being divided into 40, so each neighbors must pay a certain amount regardless of how much water they used, so it will discourage the citizens to use an adequate amount of water.

To solve the problem, the government can easily issue a law that each housing unit must have its own water metering device, he added.

Winter not to meet above normal rainfall

According to a report published by the climatological research center affiliated to IMO, the country will receive normal or lower than normal rainfall in winter.

Moreover, the monthly rainfall trend shows a gradual decline during winter, and it seems that the highest drop will occur in the last month of winter. 

During mid-January to early February, precipitation rate especially in the southwestern parts will meet above normal average, cold regions of which will receive snowfall.

Accordingly, in spite of rainfall extremes in the autumn, it is anticipated that the average precipitation in winter will meet the normal levels, so it is not farfetched that the country faces dry spells and water scarcity once again exacerbated.

So, instead of blaming the residents for consuming high amounts of water, officials must pay serious attention to efficient water management methods as well as halting the construction of numerous wells, damns and optimizing cultivation of agricultural products while shutting down water consuming industries.

Water scarcity not to be compensated 

Over the past 11 years, the mean precipitations in the country has not met normal levels.

In November 2018, Sadeq Ziaeian director for drought and crisis management department at IMO said that while the country has been poured with rain over the autumn, it is not satisfactory enough to compensate for severe water shortages, since in the last 11 water years, the precipitation rates was below normal or, eventually, normal, as a result of which the groundwater resources and water stored behind the dams had fallen sharply, so, at least 11 years of normal precipitation average is needed to compensate for the current situation.

Situated in an arid region, Iran has long been fighting with water shortage. The huge expansion of agricultural and industrial activities in past decades put an extra pressure on water resources.

Many damns have been built and too many deep wells have been dug in the country to satisfy the ever increasing need for water, but it takes a lot more ore than a slight increase in precipitation or building dams to ease the chronic water shortage.

Desertification, climate change, illegal water wells, wasteful farming practices, water-intensive industries in arid regions and injudicious use of water in households are known to have a far greater effect on the worsening crisis.


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