EghtesadOnline: One anxiety in water management in Iran is the pattern of dwindling groundwater resources, and a key step taken in this regard is the unending fight against unauthorized water wells.
The managing director of Hamedan Regional Water Company, Mansour Sotoudeh, says of the 7,300 illegal wells in the province 3,850 have been sealed in the past five years, the Energy Ministry’s news portal reported.
“Sealing the wells has helped save 268 million cubic meters of water.”
The move has also helped maintain a semblance of stability in groundwater levels in the region that was falling sharply, Financial Tribune reported.
However, philanthropists and social experts are quick to point out that illegal wells feed very many farmlands and sealing them has a negative impact on the key agriculture sector.
They insist that water managers and relevant authorities, who are good at trumpeting their success in closing wells, do not say what the government wants to do to help sustain the livelihood of large numbers farmers whose wells are sealed.
He went on to say that almost 4,447 smart meters have been installed on authorized water wells in the northwestern province. The agriculture sector accounts for 74% of the digital meters.
Smart meters have also been installed in rural homes (10%), urban households (6%), industries (6%), livestock and poultry sector (3%) and miscellaneous (1%).
Installation of smart meters on wells helps control groundwater use and prevents overconsumption and waste, he asserted.
If a farmer draws more water than the amount specified for him/her from his well, electricity is cut off automatically, and they will not be able to harvest water until inspectors from the water and electricity departments check the consumption.
“Farmers are required to install the smart meters on their wells as a legal obligation,” he noted.
According to Energy Ministry reports, there are almost 470,000 legal and 320,000 illegal wells in the country and every year an estimated 14,000 illegal wells are sealed.
Hamedan is a historic city and Iran’s fifth biggest grape producer after Fars, Qazvin, Khorasan Razavi and West Azarbaijan.