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EghtesadOnline: Underground water resources meet close to 57% of the domestic water demand from households, farming and industries. The balance (43%) comes from renewable resources.

Approximately 65% of Iran’s need for potable water flows from underground sources namely wells, the qanat water systems and mineral springs that have been depleting at alarming rates, Financial Tribune reported.

Based on Energy Ministry data, 734,000 (legal and illegal) wells, 173,500 springs and 41,000 qanats provide potable water and water for the key agriculture sector.

From the total number of wells (734,000), about 518,000 are legal, of which 50,000 supply industries. The Energy Ministry issued licenses to dig 81 new wells in November, down 15% compared to October when the number was 95.

One major issue in water management in Iran is the exploitation of groundwater resources, and an important measure taken in this regard is the will to control and reverse the use of illegal wells that now exceed 200,000 nationwide.

According to the deputy head of the Underground Water Resources Protection Unit of Iran Water Resource Management, Abdollah Fazeli Farsani, dealing with the problem of illegal wells needs funds that have been few and far  between due to the difficult economic conditions.

An estimated $600 million was supposed to be allocated to projects to help revive depleting underground water resources in the past few years. “A very small amount of this was made available to the Energy Ministry.”

Renewable water resources -- manual flow of rivers and recharge of aquifers emanating from precipitation -- show an appalling 20% decline over five years, declining from 130 billion cubic meters in 2013 to 105 bcm now.

According to reports, (renewable) resources were around 140 bcm in 1999 but have been descending rapidly ever since. It fell to 135 bcm, 130 bcm and 105 bcm in 2007, 2013 and 2017, respectively.


Households Iran Industries Water water resources water demand Resources Demand farming Crucial underground renewable resources