EghtesadOnline: The plains around Kerman City, capital of the namesake province, no longer have the capacity for more deep wells to reach groundwater resources, and water transfer is the only way to meet its water needs, the civil coordination affairs deputy of the Kerman governor said.
With the rise in water consumption since the start of summer, “we are facing difficulty meeting demand in the city,” ISNA quoted Mostafa Ayatollahi Mousavi as saying.
Water demand in Kerman is 3,000 liters per second while maximum production capacity in the arid city is 1,850 liters/second. Drinking water in Kerman is supplied entirely from groundwater sources.
According to provincial authorities, the region’s groundwater balance is negative; meaning that the rate of water withdrawal is over and above recharge, Financial Tribune reported.
Prolonged drought and rising temperatures in Iran, in line with global warming, have led to a decline in the recharge of groundwater resources. Moreover, withdrawal from these sources has been rising rapidly.
All such factors have contributed to the lowering of groundwater levels. Abundance of illegal water wells in Kerman is eventually dragging the already water-stressed province into more trouble.
Large volumes of water are withdrawn from deep wells, which are dug deeper as time passes and mainly due to dwindling groundwater levels.
Each year, 2.8 billion cubic meters of water is withdrawn from the drought-stricken province’s aquifers.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.
Annually close to 49 billion cubic meters of water is extracted from authorized wells and 7.3 bcm from illegal wells in Iran – a country located in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions.
Depleting groundwater resources has had a negative impact on the plains in various areas, causing ground subsidence in some and making many others prone to land subsidence.
Rapidly declining water access has impelled the government to increase the number of plains from which taking water is banned from 15 in 1968 to 405 now.
Land subsidence generally occurs when groundwater is mined in an unplanned way. It is an irreversible process and can be very serious.
Ground subsidence can lead to damage of infrastructure (roads, bridges) and flooding due to ineffective drainage systems of the cities.
Almost 320,000 illegal water wells have been identified in the country and are being sealed. There are 487,000 wells that have valid permits.
Annually 14,000 wells are sealed and it will take about 23 years to seal all the illegal wells. Of course, this can only happen if no more wells are dug during the period!
Kerman City is waiting for the completion of a project that will transfer drinking water from Safa Rud Dam.
When completed, a 77km pipeline will transfer fresh water from the dam in Rabor County in the southeast of the province to provincial capital.
Another plan is to supply water to Kerman from the Persian Gulf. “The first phase of the project is near completion and will be ready early next fiscal year (starts in March 2020),” Mousavi was quoted as saying by ISNA.
A long-term project is also considered to supply Kerman with fresh water, namely transferring water from Beheshtabad, a village in Ardal County, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province.
Beheshtabad is among the areas with the largest sources of water in the country since there are several rivers that originate from snow-capped mountains.
The project includes construction of a dam with the capacity of 1.5 billion cubic meters of water and installation of water supply infrastructure.
Preliminary pipe-laying work has begun from Kerman.