EghtesadOnline: Dam projects in Ilam Province have either been abandoned or making little progress if any and the Energy Ministry has not fulfilled its promises to help accelerate the construction.
While dams are a major source of safe water for the population (600,000) in Ilam and provide farms and industries, the projects face funding issues, Mehr News Agency reported.
There are three dams operating in the province. Ilam has the capacity to annually produce over 660,000 tons of food including wheat, barley, corn, sugar beet, grapes, peach, lemon, olive, and walnut.
It also produces 182,000 tons of animal products including red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, honey and milk a year.
Chenareh, Sikan, Meymeh and Vargar are among the dam projects that were supposed to be constructed in the region; however, they have seen very little progress.
25 Years and Counting
Almost 25 years ago, Chenareh Dam in Chardavol County was supposed to be built to supply water for drinking, industrial and agricultural use, but nothing has happened since then.
Recently, the deputy governor for civil affairs said construction of the dam would start early next year. “Chenareh Dam will be built on a namesake river between Ilam and Kermanshah provinces, 24 km from Eslamabad-e-Gharb City,” Ahmad Karami said. The structure is designed to hold 6 million cubic meters of water.
Residents in Limbo
Sikan Dam in Darreh Shahr County is another project in Ilam on hold. Ten years have passed since construction began but it has made less than 30% physical progress.
One of the main reasons for the constant delays is lack of funding from the Energy Ministry. Besides financial constraints, the project faces another major problem. The people of Farhadabad village in the vicinity of the dam have not been relocated. Again the Energy Ministry is responsible as it has not yet purchased agricultural and residential land for the relocation of the rural folks.
The representative of Ilam in the parliament has said that the ministry will allocate $6.6 million to the project in the next Persian calendar year (starts March 2021).
Behzad Alizadeh said Sikan Dam will help supply potable water to parts of the province and to farmlands near the dam. The dam will hold 12 mcm of water and feed 4,600 hectares of farms.
Vargar Dam in Abdanan County is another important project in Ilam Province, the construction of which started in 2014. Six years on work has stopped with less than 10% progress.
Similar to most other projects, the problem is lack of funds. As a result, workers involved in the construction process, who have not been paid for a year, have downed their tools.
As there is no industrial activity in Abdanan and it is largely an agro economy, construction of Vergar Dam was planned to help lift the rural farming community and irrigate 2,000 hectares
Incomplete After 10 Years
Meymeh Dam in Dehloran County is another unfinished project in the western province. Construction started in 2010 but progress is at a snail’s pace. The dam should store 80 mcm and supply 4,000 hectares of agricultural land.
The Energy Ministry often talks about the great strides it has made in access to sustainable water sources but many regions are grappling with chronic water shortages as poor rains, climate change, rising temperatures and draught take a heavy toll.
Regarding Ilam water issues and those in other parts of the water-deficit regions, it needs mention that while the problems have piled up for years new challenges have emerged. This apparently implies that the Energy Ministry is unable or unwilling to deliver.