EghtesadOnline: Yazd Regional Water Company annually draws one million cubic meters of water from groundwater sources to supply industries in Yazd Province, the company managing director said.
“We have problems allocating water to large industries due to the lack of resources in the province,” the Energy Ministry news portal quoted Mohammad Mehdi Javadianzadeh as saying.
“The best way to replace groundwater for industries is using treated wastewater. Such projects usually take at least three years,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
The declining pattern of groundwater levels in many regions has become a serious cause of concern.
On average one billion cubic meters of water is extracted from groundwater sources in the arid central province every year resulting in severe water deficits in most plains.
Groundwater overdraft can lead to the destruction of vegetation; increase the possibility of dust storms, create sinkholes in the plains, increase salt content in groundwater and worsen land subsidence.
Although industries are the biggest employers and main contributors to value added in the province, “the agriculture sector tops the list of water consumption with the lowest employment rates and value added,” Javadianzadeh complained.
However, considering the role and significance of the agricultural sector, meaningful measures need to be taken to improve productivity in the sector, he said, echoing the views of a growing number of observers that Iran’s farming sector is gradually becoming a liability by refusing to modernize and using water it does not have.
Yazd Regional Water Company has adopted measures including installing smart meters for water wells, restricting cultivation of water-intensive crops, improving farming methods, such as promoting drip irrigation and sealing illegal wells.
Projects to decrease groundwater extraction in Yazd have helped reduce the rate of depletion of groundwater in the plains and aquifers.
Yazd is in the center of Iran where two deserts Dasht-e- Kavir and Dasht-e-Lut meet. Due to the dry and arid climate plus long and near permanent droughts, Yazd needs responsible and pro-active management and optimal use of the fast depleting water resources.
The province has a yearly precipitation of 49 millimeters and only 23 days of rainfall.
Since the beginning of the current water year in September, Yazd had the lowest amount of precipitation among the 31 provinces, with 44.9 millimeters of rainfall.
The province has a population of 1.13 million.
Another project that is expected to help alleviate the water shortage in Yazd is transferring water from the Persian Gulf.
“One of our most important objectives of the project is to supply water to the industrial sector,” Javadianzadeh noted.
The first phase of the project has made 60% progress and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
Upon completion of the first phase, 150 million cubic meters of seawater will be supplied annually to the water-stressed region.
The water will also be used for greenhouse farming. It will benefit farmers because they will be able to grow crops with less water compared to field cultivation.