EghtesadOnline: Followed by Qatar, Israel and Lebanon, Iran is ranked 4th on the list of countries with extremely high water risk.
The Tehran-based Persian-language economic newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, a sister publication of Financial Tribune, quoted Friday a report issued by Washington DC-based World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.
Iran's agriculture, industry and households are consuming 80% of available surface and groundwater in an average year, it said.
Nearly 1.8 billion people or a quarter of the world's population live in 17 countries including Iran. They all are facing extremely high water stress close to "day zero" conditions when the taps run dry, the report warned, according to Financial Tribune.
"What is worrying about Iran is that households' consumption [scored at 4.6] is exceeding that of farming [at 4.58] and industrial [at 4.28] sectors," WRI said.
Iran's annual water consumption is over 100 billion cubic meters.
Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, San Marino, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Botswana made up the top 17.
"Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability," said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI.
“The newly updated Aqueduct tools allow users to better see and understand water risks and make smart decisions to manage them. A new generation of solutions is emerging, but nowhere near fast enough. Failure to act will be massively expensive in human lives and livelihoods.”
Giving a breakdown, the report added that Alborz Province tops the list of extremely high water stress regions in Iran. Alborz Province, 50km northwest of Tehran, was detached from Tehran in 2010 due mostly to its population growth.
Followed by Alborz, other provinces namely Tehran, Qazvin, Hamedan and Markazi are placed in the second category of extremely high water stress regions.
Other rankings in descending order are Golestan, North Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, Semnan, Ilam, Mazandaran, Lorestan, Isfahan, Qom, Kohkilouyeh-Boyer-Ahmad, Zanjan, Fars, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, Kermanshah, Kerman, Hormozgan, Kurdistan, Yazd, South Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Bushehr, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Gilan and Ardebil.
WRI has also studied drought risk and riverine flood risk across 189 countries and their sub-national regions. Regarding the former, Iran [scored 0.58] is ranked 52. With respect to the latter, it is ranked 106.
The economic impact of severe water shortages across continents came to the fore earlier this year in the south Indian city of Chennai, home to 7.1 million people. Heat waves and a monsoon delay in the summer months saw some of Chennai’s freshwater lakes dry up, triggering protests and violence, as well as business interruptions, with tech companies asking employees to work from home.
Qatar, the most at risk from water scarcity, depends heavily on seawater desalination systems to supply drinking water to people and industries.
WRI Water Risk Atlas helps companies, businesses, investors and governments to identify and evaluate water risks around the world
Aqueduct is supported by the Aqueduct Alliance, a coalition of leading companies, governments and foundations working with WRI to improve sustainable water management.
Its data is developed in collaboration with our research partners at Delft University of Technology, Deltares, Utrecht University, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), PBL Netherlands Environmental Agency, and RepRisk.