EghtesadOnline: Water shortage in Khoy County in West Azarbaijan Province has intensified with the depletion of groundwater aquifers, digging new wells and delays in building dams on rivers.
Khoy is the second largest county in West Azarbaijan with a population of about 400,000. However, the people have been struggling with chronic water shortages for drinking, industry and farming for many years, Mehr News Agency reported.
Construction of new dams, repairing old networks to prevent water seepage and transferring water from Aghchai Dam to Khoy are options on the table to address the crisis. But these are long-term plans and cannot solve the real and present problems of the people.
A decade ago it was decided to supply water for drinking, industries and agriculture in Khoy by constructing the Ghazan Dam. The project remains on paper, the Khoy and Chaypareh lawmaker in the Majlis said.
“Water for Khoy is supplied through 100 wells. However, the declining pattern of groundwater levels in the region has become a serious cause of concern. If this continues it will make a bad situation worse,” in the not too distant future, Adel Najafzadeh said.
There are no dams or other facilities to control surface water, therefore, groundwater resources are the only way to meet drinking water needs, he added.
Aland River in the county flows towards Tabriz, the provincial capital, while Khoy is struggling with water shortages, Najafzadeh rued.
“Construction of Ghazan Dam will help store 130 million cubic meters of water. If this happens, we will have enough water for homes, industry and agriculture in Khoy.”
The region has a farm economy, mainly production of fruits and grains.
Last year Buyla Push Dam was inaugurated to provide water for over 6,500 hectares of Khoy farmland.
Built on Qotour River, the dam also supplies 20 villages with potable water. However, this was not enough to address the water deficit in its entirety.
West Azarbaijan Province, with 3.5 million people, now has 16 dams. Spread over 43,660 square kilometers, including Lake Urmia, the province borders Turkey, Iraq and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
While serious water problems persist in Khoy as is the case all over Iran, several soil, water and electricity projects in other counties of West Azarbaijan have come on line in recent years.
An estimated $215 million has been spent on projects including provision of potable water for 400,000 people and 46,000 hectares of farmland.
One of the projects is the Karamabad Dam in Poldasht County. It is built on Aras River that starts in Turkey, flows through Armenia, Nakhchivan, Iran and finally empties into the Kura River in the neighboring Azerbaijan Republic.
With a capacity of 54 million cubic meters, the dam supplies water to 20,000 hectares of farmlands in the vicinity of Aras River in Poldasht and Showt counties.
Another project is Silveh Dam, constructed on Lavin River in Piranshahr County, which can hold 163 mcm of water.
The primary purpose of the dam is interbasin transfer for 13,000 hectares of farmland. It also supplies water to the famous Urmia Lake basin to help replenish the troubled lake.