Agro Sector Gobbles Up 91% of Water
EghtesadOnline: An estimated 90% of the renewable water resources in Markazi Province is consumed in the agriculture sector, managing director of Markazi Regional Water Company said.
This is while, a large part of the water used for farming is wasted due to old and inefficient irrigation systems used by farmers. “The efficiency of flood irrigation is barely 30% with 70% wasted,” ISNA quoted Ezatolah Ameri as saying.
Natural renewable water resources are the total amount of a regions water resources, both surface water and groundwater, which is generated through the hydrological cycle. The amount is computed on a yearly basis.
“Of the total 3 billion cubic meters of renewable water in the province, 91% is used by farmers, 5% for drinking and 4% in industry,” he added.
Surface water comprises 700 million cubic meters of the renewable water in the province and 2.3 bcm comes from groundwater resources.
Flood irrigation is an old irrigating method. Water is delivered to the field via ditch, pipe, or some other means and simply flows over the ground through to the field. This method is not efficient compared with other modern options.
According to Ameri, it has been planned to reduce water consumption in the agro sector and increase efficiency through different programs.
Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient and appropriate systems. Instead of wetting the whole field surface, water is applied only to the plant root zone. The primary goal of drip irrigation is to apply water at the time when plants need it most and ay rates needed for proper plant growth.
“There are 7,000 legal agricultural wells and 2,600 are unauthorized,” Ameri said.
“In the past two decades 3,000 illegal wells have been sealed and the rest will be shut gradually”.
Regarding the installation of smart meters on wells, he said: "The installation of the meters is mandatory, but there are discrepancies in the budget law in terms of financing. Sometimes the government pays for it and sometimes the payment is left to the farmers. In the latter case, the farmers hesitate to install the meters, and financial constraints have slowed down the process.”
So far, 1,500 meters have been installed on the wells, which has prevented overdraft of up to 34 mcm of water. The number should reach 7,000 in future, the official noted.
A smart meter is a modern electricity meter that digitally sends meter readings to energy suppliers. It ensures accurate energy bills. Smart meters also come with monitors so that users can see and adjust (reduce) consumption.
Agro-wells equipped with the new system help in efficiently monitoring water extraction.
Favorable rains in the last two years in Markazi Province have filled the dams. According to the official, in the past water year (September 2018-August 2019), the amount of rainfall in the province was 477 millimeters, which was in fact an exceptional year. Since the start of the current water year (September 2019), 356 mm of rainfall has been registered, which shows an increase of 31% compared to the long term.
Markazi province has two large dams, Kamal Saleh Damm in Shazand and Al-Ghadir Dam in Saveh, which now are almost full.
The total reservoir capacity of Al-Ghadir Dam is 280 mcm, which is 90% full. Its water is used for agriculture and drinking. The total volume of water Kamal Saleh Dam can hold is 97 mcm. It is 90% full.
There are 45 small dams in the province, which have been filled in the last two years, Ameri said.