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EghtesadOnline: Recent rainfall has by no means eased Tehran’s water crisis that has been a source of serious concern for years, managing director of Tehran Province Water and Wastewater Company said.

“Water wells in Tehran are not in good condition and the situation cannot improve with good rains in one or two years,” Mohammadreza Bakhtiari was quoted as saying by ISNA

“Higher precipitation has certainly affected surface water sources and dams that supply half of Tehran’s drinking water. But the other 50% of potable water comes from groundwater sources that are still in bad condition” due to increasing consumption and waste, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Referring to the rise in water consumption in Tehran, Bakhtiari said up until the recent past water consumption in the capital was below 3 million cubic meters per day, but since the beginning of the fiscal year in March, daily consumption has always been over and above 3 mcm.

“Dam water is not merely used for drinking purposes but also for industrial and agricultural sectors. Therefore, more rainfall that has led to the rise of water levels in dams should not create any justification for the increase in consumption,” the official noted.

Daily water consumption in Tehran Province, which is home to 13 million people at 210-250 liters per capita, is a massive 20% higher than other cities in Iran and 30% above other megacities with the same population.



Prohibitive Levels

Tehran potable water consumption is much higher than the global average of 140 liters per capita per day, and in some regions it is twice as much reaching prohibitive levels.

Water consumption in Tehran shot up by 4% in the past eight months compared to the corresponding period last year, this is while annual population growth is 2%.

The amount of potable water used annually in Tehran Province exceeds 1.4 billion cubic meters, accounting for almost 20% of the total fresh water consumption in the country of 80 million plus people.

The unsustainable and dangerous consumption patterns are visibly threatening water supplies in the sprawling capital.

Across Iran, almost 60% of consumption of households and industries and 50% for farming comes from groundwater.

Surveys of groundwater sources in the plains show that the trend is of the ascending order across the board and creating serious concern among the people conservationists, environmentalists and agro experts.

The steep decline in groundwater levels is having devastating consequences. Excessive pumping is harming groundwater tables and stopping wells from reaching groundwater. When groundwater is overused, lakes, streams and rivers connected to groundwater also start diminishing. 

Groundwater overdraft can also lead to land subsidence as it occurs when there is loss of support below the ground.

Destruction of vegetation, increasing possibility of dust storms, holes in the plains and higher salt content in groundwater are other grave consequences of overconsumption.


Tehran Water Crisis Rainfall groundwater resources