EghtesadOnline: The government and Majlis have completed feasibility studies on a project to transfer water from the Oman Sea to five provinces, a member of Majlis Urban Affairs Commission said.
According to plans, water from southern Iran will be transferred to Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, Yazd, South Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi provinces long suffering from acute water shortages, the parliamentary news website ICANA quoted Sodeif Badri as saying.
“Based on the programs, 750 million cubic meters of water will be supplied annually to these provinces for drinking and industrial use from the Sea of Oman,” he said without providing details.
Located in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, Iran’s average precipitation has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years, Financial Tribune reported.
Furthermore, years of mismanagement have made a bad situation worse and finding workable solutions is a top priority for the government.
Environmentalists and experts say transferring water from the Oman Sea through pipelines to the parched and water-stressed regions is the best possible way to tackle the water shortages.
“Due to the government’s limited financial resources, private companies should help in implementing the project,” Badri said, adding that a letter to this effect from the urban affairs commission has been submitted to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on supporting the private sector in this regard.
“We have said that private companies can borrow from the National Development Fund,” he noted, and hoped that the proposal would be accepted.
The issue of providing half of the population with safe drinking water has been among the main priority in recent years, he said. “The project can also help rescue water-intensive industries in the drought-stricken central plateau.”
However, one project alone cannot completely solve the water crisis and “there is a chronic need for modern and new approaches to change water consumption patterns, especially in the agriculture sector that gobbles up more than 90% of Iran’s scarce water resources.”
Depletion of underground water resources has led to the evacuation of many villages as people in increasing numbers move out of the draught regions.
The government has apparently developed plans to prevent further depletion of underground water tables by encouraging crops that consume less water such as saffron and barberry.
The average Iranian uses 250 liters of water per day. In metropolises such as Tehran and Isfahan, it can even go up to 350 liters a day — three times the global average.
Officials have said addressing the ever-growing problems related to the water shortages should undertaken by 2022 before reaching a point of no return.
A study conducted by the World Resources Institute has ranked Iran as the world's 24th most water-stressed nation, putting it at extremely high risk of future water scarcity.