EghtesadOnline: Deluge in the past few days in southern and southeastern Iran has inflicted damages on cities, villages and roads and endangered lives. But at the same time it has helped fill dams that saw little water in years.
“There are 30 dams in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, with a capacity of around 2 billion cubic meters, of which 64% is full now,” Financial Tribune quoted managing director of Sistan-Baluchestan Regional Water Company as saying.
“Average rainfall has increased extensively compared to previous years, and with more water stored in dams it is hoped that farmers will have no water problem in the coming months,” ILNA quoted Atabak Jafari as saying.
Last January almost 22% of the capacity of dams in the province was full. New figures show that the volume has tripled.
Sistan-Baluchestan has a desert climate with very little rainfall -- on average 105 mm a year.
Unprecedented in years, the dry province registered over 100 millimeters of rain in three days, equivalent to one year’s rainfall.
Precipitation caused four dams to overflow. While Khair Abad Dam in Nik Shahr County and Zirdan Dam in Chabahar County overflowed after eight years, Pishin and Say Kelk dams in the same county are full to the brim.
Sistan-Baluchestan, the second largest province of Iran, borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been grappling with extended periods of draught and severe water shortages in the past two decades.
More than 50% of the people in the province one lived in rural areas. But that is now fast changing as the Sistanis and Baluchis abandon their dwelling places and move to other regions in search of work and a better life.
Almost 75% of the capacity of dams in southern Hormozgan Province is now full, managing director of Hormozgan Province Regional Water Company said.
Since Friday, 203 million cubic meters of water has entered the 20 dams, Houshang Mollai said.
The heavy downpours helped “Hormozgan dams get out of past critical conditions,” he added.
Since the start of the current water year, (September 23, 2019) up until January 11, more than 123 millimeters of rainfall was registered across Iran -- up 10% compared to the same period last year (112.5mm) -- and 43% higher compared to the average in the past 50 years (86.3mm).
Higher precipitation has increased the amount of water flowing into dams across the country, which can hold a maximum of 50 billion cubic meters of water. At present, almost 52% of the total capacity is full.
However, the precipitation rate in the six main catchment areas has been different during the past 110 days.
The country is divided into six primary and 31 secondary catchment areas. The Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman in the south (220 millimeters) and Hamoun Wetlands in the east (55 millimeters) were the two primary catchment areas with the highest and lowest precipitation rates.
The remaining four catchments include the Caspian Sea in the north (150 mm), Urmia Lake in the northwest (90 mm), the Central Plateau in Markazi Province (80 mm) and Karakum in the northeast (65 mm).
The global average annual precipitation is more than 830mm, based on which Iran is classified as an arid and semi-arid country.