EghtesadOnline: The project to transfer drinking water from Safa Rud Dam to Kerman City in southern Kerman Province will be completed in two weeks, managing director of Kerman Regional Water Company said.
“Helping alleviate shortage of drinking water in the provincial capital” is the goal of the project in this region that has been grappling with low precipitation and drought for years, the Energy Ministry news portal Paven quoted Ebrahim Alizadeh as saying.
A 38-kilometer pipeline will transfer 21,000 liters of fresh water per second from Safa Rud Dam in Rabor County in the southeast of the province to Kerman.
Kerman’s potable water comes mainly from groundwater sources that are fast depleting. However, according to provincial authorities, the region’s groundwater balance is “negative”, meaning the rate of water withdrawal is higher than its recharge, according to Financial Tribune.
The abundance of illegal water wells in Kerman is getting the already water-stressed province into deep trouble.
Large amounts of water are withdrawn from deep wells, which are dug much deeper every year due to dwindling groundwater levels.
In spite of repeated warnings and sealing of many illegal wells, excessive withdrawal of water from aquifers continues in the agriculture sector to grow produce that is often economically and environmentally unviable.
Each year, 2.8 billion cubic meters of water is withdrawn from the drought-stricken province’s aquifers. Kerman has 24,000 wells, of which 8,500 are illegal.
Over 7,500 illegal wells have been sealed in the past 13 years in the central province and this move helped save 270 million cubic meters of water, Alizadeh said.
Need for Modern Farming
Installing smart water meters and encouraging farmers to embrace modern irrigation methods and avoid growing water-intensive crops are among the measures taken in the province in recent years.
“More than 4,000 smart meters have been installed on agricultural wells in the past six years”, Alizadeh noted.
Located in the dry and arid regions with below minimum precipitation, Kerman, like many other provinces, has been struggling with drought for years.
Unprecedented decline in precipitation during the past year caused a steep decline in water stored in dams. Even good rains since the beginning of the current water year (September 2018) have done little to help assuage the plight of the people of the Kermanis.
One of the ideas floated recently to bring water to Kerman is transferring water from the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Although no measures have been taken so far, it is said to be the last resort.
Latest projections show that the province will face a worsening water crisis within three years if timely and effective measures are not taken.