EghtesadOnline: Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian says enhancing water efficiency by 10% can go a long way in saving the rapidly shrinking precious resource.
“So long as old irrigation practices continue and farmers are not helped to access water conservation technologies, efforts to complete water transfer projects (from the Caspian Sea and Sea of Oman) will be an exercise in futility,” he said, IRNA reported.
Highlighting the scale and scope of the water crisis, the minister said present (high) consumption patterns are “like a chronic disease with irreparable costs and consequences in the long-term.”
Continuing to produce more water will not solve the problem if consumption is not reduced, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Referring to the first phase of the controversial water transfer project from the Persian Gulf to Kerman, Sistan-Balouchestan and Yazd provinces, he said upon completion the pipeline will transfer 750 million cubic meters of potable water to the dry regions per year. This is while they need 11 billion cubic meter of water annually to meet their agricultural demand.
Total water consumption in the country is close to 100 bcm per annum.
Need to Reduce Demand
Put simply, the gap between consumption and production cannot be bridged unless demand in different sectors namely farming, household and industry is effectively controlled.
Water scarcity has been threatening food security and has become a serious cause of concern in almost arid regions, including Iran. Promoting modern agro technologies is seen as a key measure against water paucity.
The minister said innovative farming practices can enhance water efficiency and benefit farmers, but the problem is that they “generally lack adequate knowledge and incentives about water use for crops, efficient irrigation methods and yield responses to different water management practices”.
Iran is facing perpetual drought for many years. Located in an arid and semi-arid area, the nation of 82 million people is facing huge water deficits due to low precipitation and climate change coupled with waste and mismanagement.
Overconsumption and systemic depletion of underground resources for farming have made a bad situation worse.