EghtesadOnline: Supplying rural areas with clean water will be among the main activities of the Energy Ministry this year, deputy for engineering and development affairs at the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company said.
“Water supply facilities for 1,950 villages will be completed by next March and an estimated rural population of 1.21 million will have access to safe drinking water,” ISNA quoted Shahin Pakrouh as saying.
The company has applied for $111 million from the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s main sovereign fund.
In 2017, close to 1,583 villages with 1.17 million people were provided with drinking water, the official said, adding that a year later 1,511 villages, home to 1.2 million people, got potable water, according to Financial Tribune.
“Now, 28,753 villages with a population of 16.79 million, which makes up 82.2% of the rural population with more than 20 households, have access to fresh water,” Pakrouh was quoted as saying.
As per law, the Energy Ministry can receive 200 rials (0.14 cent) per cubic meter of drinking water from subscribers, in addition to the usual water tariff, and send the money to the treasury.
The total amount of the extra money received from consumers must only be spent on the expansion of water distribution networks in the rural areas and outskirts of cities.
Access to safe drinking water is a major concern throughout the world. Health risks arise from consumption of water contaminated with pollutants or harmful chemicals that can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreation.
Although food security has significantly increased in the past thirty years, global water withdrawals for irrigation represent 66 % of the total withdrawals and up to 90 % in arid regions, the other 34 % being used by domestic households (10 %), industry (20 %), or evaporated from reservoirs (4 %).
As the per capita use increases due to changes in lifestyle and as population increases as well, the proportion of water for human use is increasing. This, coupled with spatial and temporal variations in water availability, means that the water to produce food for human consumption, industrial processes and all the other uses is becoming scarce across continents.
Based on Energy Ministry data, in the past five years, over 5.5 million people on the outskirts of urban and rural areas have been given access to potable water.
Thousands of villages have been depopulated partly due to the long years of drought over half a century that saw unusually large numbers of people migrate to cities in search of a livelihood as water became a precious commodity and economic conditions deteriorated.
Improved water supply and sanitation and better water management can help improve economic growth, contribute to poverty alleviation and check rural-urban migration.