EghtesadOnline: Output from hydroelectric power plants will reach 10,500 gigawatt hours by the end of the current fiscal in March, director of Iran Hydroelectric Power Management Center Farbod Estiri said.
Hydroelectric plants have an installed capacity of 12,000 megawatts, but produce less because water levels in dams have plunged, the Energy Ministry news portal Paven reported.
“The amount of hydroelectric power generated in the first 10 months of the year (March-December 2018) was 8,750 GWh, down 37% compared to the same period last year,” Estiri said.
However, he referred to the good rains in the past three months across the country and expressed the hope that with the long-awaited welcome development more electricity would be produced by the yearend, according to Financial Tribune.
Precipitation in the first three months of the current water year (October-December 2018) increased by 228% compared to last year.
Iran has had 117.3 millimeters of rainfall in the 3-month period this year while last year during the same period barely 35.5 millimeters of rainfall was registered.
Last water year (September 2017-18) was one of the driest in half a century as a 45% deficit in rainfall was recorded.
The unprecedented decline in precipitation and years of drought have resulted in steep declines in water stored in hydroelectric dams.
According to the Energy Ministry, electricity produced from 53 hydroelectric power plants this summer fell to 3.65 million megawatt hours -- a 36% reduction compared to the corresponding period last year.
Water shortages in several regions have been very serious and in one case in Isfahan the sole hydroelectric power plant in the central province was shut down due to the acute water deficit that has left Zayandehrud Dam with very little water. The dam is situated on the famous Zayandehrud River 10 kilometers east of Chadegan in the key industrial and tourist province.
The unusually hot summer led to much higher power consumption and together with hydropower deficits led to blackouts in some major urban areas.
There is some guarded optimism that the situation is improving. Most provinces have reported above average rainfall since the beginning of the new water year. According to reports by the Iran Meteorological Organization, more rains are expected in the coming days.
“Hydroelectric plants play a key role during power outages because they quickly reestablish supply after a blackout and support other plants (mostly thermal),” Estiri said.
Hydropower is a renewable energy and its production is cleaner compared to other sources and constitutes almost 12,000 MW of Iran’s total installed power generation capacity of 82,000 MW.
Despite higher precipitation, there are many factors that cause concern among the people and authorities. Water Wastage in agriculture and industries, population growth and mismanagement has outpaced the amount of rainfall and the development of water technologies, leading to desiccation of wetlands and rivers.
In addition, per capita water use in metropolises such as Tehran exceeds 200 liters when the global average is close to 150 liters.
Independent experts, environmentalists and academia insist that it is not only high agricultural consumption that has created the wholesale water crisis. Mismanagement of water resources, including multiple damming projects on major rivers, both in Iran and the neighboring countries, have made a bad situation worse by disturbing the natural water flow.