EghtesadOnline: Identifying sustainable water and energy consumption patterns to meet the current and future generations' needs tops the Energy Ministry's agenda.
Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian made the statement while addressing a panel on "Water Adaptation Strategies" in Tehran on Tuesday, ISNA reported.
"Compensating for the degradation and destruction of the environment, judicious exploitation of natural resources and balancing the development and ever-growing energy demands are among other key priorities," he said.
Ardakanian said adapting to water shortage is the government's key strategy, assuring that Iran will be able to prevent disasters resulting from the phenomenon by reversing its current policies, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the official, water and energy are indispensable issues for which a unified approach should be adopted to tackle the two sectors' challenges.
"All organizations need to do their fair share in completing their mission to safeguard water and energy resources," he said.
The minister attached great importance to creating a balance between consumption and production. He added that the concept of adapting to water shortage is a new notion that has recently been defined in water and energy management systems.
Referring to the establishment of National Water Workgroup in the Cabinet to tackle water shortage, he added that such an entity cannot achieve its goal unless extensive alterations are made in behavioral, cultural, economic and political patterns.
"It is high time that we fully acknowledge that the country is on the verge of water tension," he said.
Ardakanian believes that water paucity is more of a social issue and can be addressed, provided each and every member of the society feels responsible for it.
"Water scarcity can impede progress," he added, noting that development ventures will be strictly hindered unless water adaptation strategies are developed and implemented in the near future.
Highlighting the importance of revising water tariffs, Ardakanian said water bills should make consumers realize the real value of the scarce commodity.
Lack of rain and drought has become a permanent Iranian feature, as the country receives one-third of the average global precipitation.
---- Swiss Investment
Ardakanian met Markus Leitner, the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, on Tuesday and discussed the prospects of increasing bilateral ties in power and water sectors.
Lietner expressed hope that the two states can boost mutual ties, especially in the joint energy projects.
He noted that solar power in Switzerland has been growing rapidly in recent years through the government's push.
Ardakanian expressed Iran's readiness for attracting Swiss investment in solar projects.
"Swiss companies can generate power through renewables in Iran and send their electricity to the neighboring countries such as Afghanistan," he added.
"Such cooperation can be fruitful through Swiss investment and Iranian potentials."
The renewable industry in Iran is among the slowest-growing sectors such that barely 620 megawatts in renewable power have come on stream over the past two decades.
According to Energy Ministry's data, plans are in place to invest $3 billion in renewable power projects in the near future. Since 2016, Tehran has held talks with European companies, including from Germany and Britain, to develop its nascent renewable industry.
With more than 300 sunny days throughout a year, well above the likes of the UK with 150 days of sunlight per year on average and with far less intensity in radiation, Iran has huge potential to expand solar energy infrastructure.
The two sides conferred over expansion of ties in other energy projects, including small hydropower plants, watershed management, water desalination, water and sewage treatment, management of border waters and cooperation of Swiss experts with Regional Centre on Urban Water Management.