EghtesadOnline: Despite good rains in Markazi Province the water deficit of underground sources has not been compensated, head of the provincial Water Resources Planning Department said.
“Precipitation in Saveh city has reached 112 millimeters since the beginning of the current water year (Sept. 22) -- up 15% compared to a year ago. But there is no improvement in the depleting ground reserves,” Majid Amirhosseini was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Rapidly declining water resources has compelled the government to increase the number of plains from which water withdrawal is banned from 69 in 1968 to 405 now. There are at least 25 banned plains in Markazi Province.
“Of the total 3 billion cubic meters of renewable water in the province, 91% is used by farmers, 5% for drinking and 4% by industries,” he added. Surface water comprises 700 million cubic meters of the renewable water and 2.3 bcm comes from groundwater resources.
The region has two large dams, Kamal Saleh Dam in Shazand and Al-Ghadir Dam in Saveh that are now almost full, he noted. “Improved rainfall in the last two years in Markazi Province filled the dams.”
According to the official, in the past water year (Sept. 2019-2020), the amount of rainfall in the province was 356 millimeters which was exceptional.
Total capacity of Al-Ghadir Dam is 280 mcm and is used for drinking and farming and Kamal Saleh Dam can hold 97 mcm. There are 45 small dams in the region that are full for two years.
According to Amirhosseini, reducing water consumption in the agro sector and increasing efficiency using drip irrigation is a priority.
Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient systems used across the world. Instead of wetting the whole field surface, water is applied only to the plant root zone. The primary goal of drip irrigation is to supply water when plants need it most and at rates needed for proper plant growth.
“There are 7,000 legal agricultural wells and 2,600 are unauthorized. In the past two decades 3,000 illegal wells have been sealed and the rest will be shut gradually”.
Regarding use of smart meters on wells, he said: "Installation of the new meters is mandatory but there are discrepancies in the budget law. Sometimes the government pays for the meters and sometimes it is left to the farmers. In the latter case, farmers usually not very keen 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.
In related news, ILNA quoted the Iran Water Resource Management Company as saying that 55 millimeters of rain (90 billion cubic meters) has fallen since Sept. 22, up 10% compared to the same period in 2019.
The Caspian Sea catchment area in the north had the highest rainfall at 112 mm in the 75-day period.
The Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman basin in the south, Karakum basin in the northeast and the Central Plateau in Markazi Province received 92 mm, 29 mm and 28 mm of rainfall in the period respectively.
The least amount of rain fell in the Hamoun Wetlands in the east reaching 9 mm, down 66% compared to 2019. Urmia Lake basin in the northwest got 111 mm of rainfall. Iran is divided into six primary and 31 secondary catchment areas.