Subterranean Canals to Be Exploited to Meet Water Shortage in Tehran

June 26, 2001
TEHRAN Managing Director of Water and Sewerage Company of Tehran Province Sattar Mahmoudi said that only 23 subterranean canals out of the existing number of 286 in Tehran could be exploited to deal with water shortage, adding that operations would be launched this year despite heavy costs.

In a first step toward water rationing in the megalopolis Tehran, the water supply to several districts in Tehran was cut last week for 12 hours.

Water rationing has started in several provinces and cities in the country that are in their third consecutive year of suffering from widespread drought.

The level of water reservoirs supplying water to the capital has sharply dropped by 200 million cubic meters in the current Iranian calendar year, started March 21, according to an IRNA report.

Officials have said they would begin fining citizens who consume more than 20 cubic meters (20,000 liters) of water per month, as of June 22.

Mahmoudi said that in order to eliminate water shortage in Tehran, a list has been prepared of all the existing deep wells and subterranean canals with proper quality in the megalopolis.

Stressing that rehabilitation of each canal and transferring its refined water into the water network of the city costs Rls.1,000 million, the official said however, such mechanism could only meet 50 percent of the water requirements whereas the remaining 50 percent should be met through cooperation of subscribers.

He put the total capacity of water reservoirs at Karaj, Lar and Latian dams at 99 million cubic meters, adding that water consumption in Tehran is now some 2.6 million cubic meters of which about 1.6 is maintained by dams and the remaining by subterranean reserves.

Mahmoudi said that given the abovementioned figure, water reservoirs of Karaj, Lar and Latian dams can meet water demands of Tehran for less than two months whereas the dams should have reserves for at least five to six months.

This is while, a London-based company announced recently that Kuwait and Iran have agreed to build a two-billion-dollar pipeline that will transfer fresh water from northern Iran to Kuwait.

Multinational group Gulf Utilities said the Kuwaiti cabinet had finally approved the deal after more than a year of talks on the pipeline, which would ship water from the Karkheh Dam in northern Iran to Kuwait some 650 kilometers (400 miles) to the south.

The deal could serve as a model for other water pipeline projects in a region where water plays an often critical geo-strategic role, a spokesman for Gulf Utilities said.