EghtesadOnline: Snow cover in the western and northwest mountain basins has witnessed a 20% rise compared to last year.
According to ISNA, snow has covered almost 275,000 kilometers in Iran and when it starts melting it will produce a huge volume of water.
"Snow in mountains streaming down to Karkheh and Dez Rivers cover 15,000 kilometers," Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said, noting that when the snow melts, it will produce an estimated 1.5 billion cubic meters of water, a massive part of which is expected to be collected in dams.
The minister said 76% of the dams are full due to the recent high precipitation which has inflicted serious loss on many regions, according to Financial Tribune.
"Around 51 billion cubic meters of water flowed into dams since the beginning of the current water year (started September 23), indicating 257% growth compared to last year," he asserted, recalling that the figure was barely 14 bcm last year.
Yam, Kamayastan, Dowlatabad and Sadeh dams in Khorasan Razavi Province, Azadi Dam in western Kermanshah Province, Marook Dam in Lorestan Province and Gavmishan Dam in Kurdestan Province, to name a few, overflowed over the past few days.
According to Ardakanian, in the past three weeks, flash floods adversely affected 23 of Iran's 31 provinces, causing power and water outages in more than 6,200 small towns and villages, of which 87 dwelling places in remote areas are still struggling with the floodwaters.
Total damage to electricity and water infrastructure is estimated at $150 million, said the minister.
Although the high precipitation will curb water crisis Iran has been suffering from for more than a decade, it has killed more than 80 people and inflicted immense human and material damage, especially in the western and northern regions.
Heavy rainfall which began three weeks ago washed away bridges, inundated houses and destroyed infrastructure. The calamity the heavy downpours inflicted is unprecedented in the past 60 plus years.
According to Jalil Qazizadeh, a professor at Shahid Beheshti University, people should not assume that the years of water tension is over due to the current rainfall.
Underground water tables have been depleted and overusing subterranean water channels has led to irreparable loss, he said.
"Judicious consumption must always be a priority, even in a wet year," he added, noting that a large part of the rainfall will either turn into vapor or at best end up in the sea.
Jalil said the rise in precipitation does not mean a wet year has started and that drought would soon become a thing of the past.
Nearly 750 million people do not have access to clean drinking water globally, whereas 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation. Annually, water disasters cause $60 billion in economic losses while drought and desertification threaten the livelihoods of more than 1.2 billion people worldwide.