EghtesadOnline: Despite the fact that dams and Chah-Nimeh water reservoirs are full, residents in Sistan-Baluchestan Province are still suffering from the shortage of safe drinking water supply, the provincial Friday prayer leader said.
"Heavy rainfall in April and May notwithstanding, households have to pay large sums of money to have their water tanks filled," Molavi Abdolhamid was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Saturday.
Referring to the downpour in the period, he noted that large volumes of water are flowing through the border rivers, while those in the vicinity of the rivers cannot quench their thirst.
"There was a drought in previous years and deficiency of water supplies was justifiable then, but there can be no justification for deficiency under the current situation," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Blaming mismanagement, Abdolhamid urged officials to take advantage of water stored in reservoirs before it evaporates.
Chah-Nimeh reservoirs are three natural and big cavities in the south of Sistan Plain, 50 kilometers from Zabol. Surplus water from Hirmand River flows into them through a canal. These reservoirs, with a capacity of 700 million cubic meters, equal roughly one-seventh of Hamoun Wetland. However, 355 million cubic meters evaporate annually from the reservoirs.
Sistan-Baluchestan is the second largest province of Iran, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan. The region has been struggling with severe water shortages for two decades, as rainfall averages 105 mm.
More than 50% of the people of the province live in rural areas. But that is fast changing, as Sistanis are abandoning their homes and villages, and moving to other parts of the country in search of work and a better life.
According to provincial authorities, severe drought will soon force more than half a million people to migrate, as policy- and decision-makers have been unable to find a workable solution to the worsening water crisis that is endangering the livelihood of 2.7 million people in the border regions.
Heavy floods that swept across many Iranian provinces during the Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays (March 21-April 2) caused about $470 million in damages to the country’s agriculture and roads infrastructures ($350 million and $120 million respectively).
Farms and agricultural products in 16 provinces, namely Golestan, Lorestan and Sistan-Baluchestan, incurred heavy losses.