EghtesadOnline: The construction of Emarat Dam in Germi County in northwestern Ardabil Province is near completion, managing director of Ardabil Regional Water Company said.
“The project is almost complete and will be launched soon,” Abbas Jangi Marani was quoted as saying by IRNA without giving a timeline.
Built on Dareh-Rud River, the dam is located north of the province, 80 kilometers from Germi County and cost $20 million.
“With 182 million cubic meter capacity, Emarat Dam is the largest in Ardabil Province and can feed 23,000 hectares of farmlands,” Jangi Marani said.
Creating jobs and preventing farmers from migrating, improving trade and business prospects by expanding horticulture, boosting agriculture and livestock production and the setting up agro industries are the main goals of the project.
“When operational, 15 mcm of water will be allocated for drinking, 75 mcm for farming and 28 mcm for environmental use, the official said.
“Construction of Anbaran Dam in Namin County is underway to supply farms and feed downstream wells and qanats. Work in progress has reached 40%,” he said. About $1 million has been invested in the project and the dam is planned to be inaugurated in the next Persian calendar year (starts March 21).
Three dams and an irrigation network were launched in Ardabil this year. Ahmadbiglou Dam in Meshgin Shahr, Befrajerd Dam in Khalkhal and Tazehkand Dam in Germi together store 41 mcm of water.
Experts and independent observers say Iran’s push for economic development is taking a toll on the shrinking water resources in the mostly arid and semi-arid country as “myopic projects” take away scarce water to supply economically/environmentally unsustainable farming practices and the monstrous urbanization.
Without rearranging priorities and pragmatic food and water policies the country will face more severe water stress, they warn.
However, officials like Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian defend the controversial dam building as an effective way to check and reverse the water crisis that has gotten worse despite the large and growing number of dams.
Ardabil Province has a cool climate during summer, but the winters are bitterly cold with temperatures plummeting to -25 degrees centigrade.
Its famous natural region is the Sabalan Mountain and mineral springs. Large parts of the province are green and forested. It also has a number of lakes, which are habitats for water birds.
According to provincial officials, the agricultural sector in the province annually produces an estimated 4.5 million tons of products including lentils, canola, potatoes, honey, sugar beet, wheat and barley.
Data shows 33,548 tons of non-oil goods worth $32 million were exported from Ardabil during the first three months of the current Iranian year (March 20-June 20).
Potato, vegetables, food and dairy products were among the main exports to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkey, Georgia and the UAE.