EghtesadOnline: An estimated 95 million cubic meters of water is used annually in Ardakan County, Yazd Province, of which 80% is consumed by farmers, 12% by households and 8% by industries, managing director of Yazd Regional Water Company said.
“The downward spiral of groundwater levels in recent years is serious cause of concern. In some areas such as Chah Afzal, we have seen a 30cm decline in the groundwater level per year,” the Energy Ministry news portal Paven quoted Muhammad Mehdi Javadianzadeh as saying.
If the trend continues, the wells will eventually dry up and have a serious negative impact on agriculture in the region, he warned.
“Installation of smart meters helps reduce water consumption in the agro sector,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
If farmers draw water above the volume(s) specified for them from their own wells, electricity will be cut off automatically, and they will not be able to harvest water until water and electricity inspectors come and check their consumption.
Experts say it is imperative to seriously pursue measures in the farming sector to curb waste and inefficient use of the valuable resource that has emerged as a very serious problem in most countries -- rich and poor.
The measures include limiting cultivation of water-intensive crops, modernizing farming systems and improving agricultural methods.
Drip irrigation is one of the known efficient methods that helps decrease water use in farms.
It works by applying water slowly and directly to the soil. High efficiency in drip irrigation results from two primary factors. The first is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run off. The second is that water is used only where and when needed rather than sprayed everywhere.
Drip irrigation is the most efficient method. While sprinklers are 75-85% efficient, the ratio for drip systems is 90% or higher. It is easy to install, easy to design, inexpensive and reduces diseases in plants associated with high levels of moisture.
Ardakan is the second major city in Yazd Province. It is 60 km from Yazd, and has dry weather.
It is famous for its sesame products including sesame oil, Ardeh (processed sesame in the form of paste) and Halva Ardeh (a sweet dense confection made from sesame paste).
Pistachio and pomegranate are also among the agricultural products of the ancient county.
Frequent droughts, lack of resources and poor quality of water are among the problems Ardakan has been facing for years. Moreover, excessive harvesting of groundwater has made a bad situation worse.
Many parts of Iran, especially the central, eastern and southern regions, have been suffering from chronic water shortages due to years of drought and decline in rainfall.
Stressing the necessity of making decisions compatible with each region’s agriculture and water conditions, Javadianzadeh said: “Preserving urban green spaces is important for improving the air quality in the central city”.
Given the water conditions in Ardakan, he suggested the use of drought-tolerant plants that can survive without water for long periods.