€150m earmarked for watershed management

July 20, 2019

TEHRAN – A total budget of €150 million has been allotted to watershed management measures in the current [Iranian calendar] year (to end March 2020), deputy director for Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization (FRWMO) has announced.

Watershed management aims at the sustainable distribution of its resources and the process of creating and implementing plans, programs, and projects to sustain and enhance watershed functions that affect the plant, animal, and human communities within the watershed boundary. 

Features of watershed that agencies seek to manage include water supply, water quality, drainage, storm water runoff, water rights, and the overall planning and utilization of watersheds. Landowners, land use agencies, storm water management experts, environmental specialists, water use surveyors and communities all play an integral part in watershed management. 

100 million hectares of the country’s land area is subject to drought and subsidence, while soil erosion in Iran is three times the world's average.The vision of the aquifer management is to identify and map aquifers at the micro level, to quantify the available groundwater resources, and to propose plans appropriate to the scale of demand and aquifer characteristics, and institutional arrangements for participatory management.

In order to protect the country’s watersheds and aquifers, this year, a budget amounting to €150 million has been allocated from the National Development Fund in this regard, ISNA quoted Khosro Shahbazi as saying on Wednesday.

Aquaculture and watershed management plans will be implemented in 377 cities and about 1,034 rivers across the country, he highlighted.

Last year, the watershed management operations have been conducted on 340 cities, 649 watersheds covering 125,000 hectares, which costed $200 million, he explained.

“Currently, 100 million hectares of the country’s land area is subject to drought and subsidence, while soil erosion in Iran is three times the world's average.”

He went on to say that 28 percent of the country which constitute 450 cities and 8,600 villages, is flood-prone which causes a dire threat.

So far, some 8 watershed management plans have been provided to the Disaster Management Organization to deal with natural disasters including flood, he stated.

He also referred to the main priorities of the FRWMO during this year, and said that restoration of Lake Urmia and its ecosystem and formation of a 6,000-hectare natural belt in Zagros forests is among the main programs on agenda.

In June, Shahbazi had said that some 11 million hectares of the country’s plains need watershed and aquifer management plans, so they must be prepared in this regard.

Meanwhile, Ali Salajeqeh, a faculty member of University of Tehran in river engineering and watershed management, said in May that the only way for Iran to overcome long-term droughts along with preventing floods is through comprehensive watershed management plans.

FB/MG

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