EghtesadOnline: The world's need for water will be 20% over and above current consumption levels by 2050, said the Energy Minister.
Speaking in Tehran at the weekend, Reza Ardakanian said, “Given the global population growth, demand for food will increase by 50% compared to the consumption now. Producing such higher volumes of food will demand 20% more water and 10% more land.
This is while the Earth's surface will not change and water resources remain limited,” the IRIB News Agency quoted him as saying.
Referring to the chronic water crisis as a global challenge, which is not limited to the arid and semi-arid countries, the minister said both the developing and developed world is severely affected (to varying degrees) by the worsening water crisis, according to Financial Tribune.
“We must draw on the global experience to better plan and tackle the water shortages,” before the situation gets out of control.
The minister emphasized the crucial need for judicious consumption and wastewater recycling as key factors to resolve the water problem. “Restricting water-intensive crops can and will help save much-needed water,” Ardakanian said.
Limiting rice cultivation and fruit and vegetable farming, including the growing of watermelon, cucumber and lettuce, can curb prohibitive water consumption in the agro sector, prominent environmentalists and experts say.
Groundwater reserves in Iran are depleting at an alarming rate because of poor management, waste and excessive consumption by the farming community at large.
Average precipitation over at least the past 10 years has been lower than the global average as Iran is located in one of the world's most arid and water-stressed regions.
Official data says over 90% of the water resources are used (misused) by the agriculture sector, where unsustainable and wasteful farming practices are a norm rather than the exception.
Upgrading farming practices and improving agricultural methods are among key measures that are being promoted by the government, but apparently not at a pace that is expected.
Experts and senior officials have warned on more occasions than one that the present patterns of water consumption are at best unsustainable.
It has been reported that Iran could turn into vast swathes of barren land in less than a quarter century if urgent action is not taken to save the precious resource and understand the scale and scope of the water crisis in the country of 80 million people long used to shocking overconsumption.