TEHRAN — Iran is headed for a water shortage of epic proportions, and little is being done to reverse a decades-long trend that has reduced the country’s water supply to crisis levels.
Changes in the global climate, a century of rampant development and heavy subsidies on water and other utilities are all contributing to a situation that is likely to get much worse.
“Our water usage is twice the world standard and considering the situation in our country, we have to reduce this level,” Massoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president and the head of Iran’s Department of Environment, said in a recent speech.
Currently Iranians use on average 250 liters of water per day each day. Comparatively, Iranians uses much less water than residents of the United States, who lead the world using nearly 400 liters per day, but Iran and other dry Middle Eastern countries do not enjoy the abundance of fresh water sources of the Americas or Europe.
Accurate data for Iran’s neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan is not available, but other countries in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, consume water at levels similar to Iran, although their populations are much smaller.
With Iran’s annual precipitation only at a third of the global average, heavy overconsumption has ravaged the country’s available water resources. A 2013 study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world’s 24th most water-stressed nation, putting it at extremely high risk of future water scarcity.
“In less than 50 years, we’ve used all but 30 percent of our groundwater supply, which took a million years to gather and it’s getting worse and worse due to unsustainable development,” said Nasser Karami, an Iranian physical climatologist who is currently an associate professor at the University of Bergen in Norway.
Iran’s population has more than doubled since the 1979 revolution and grown eightfold since 1900…
In recent days, the city of Karaj, a sprawling suburb of Tehran with 1.6 million inhabitants, implemented a rationing plan. Other major cities seem certain to follow suit in the coming days.
For a society that has become accustomed to heavily subsidized utilities including water and has never been given proper education on managing its natural resources, convincing Iranians to make adjustments will be challenging…
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I have seen several articles over the past few years on this topic. Lake “Urmia” has many different spellings, should you be looking it up. Here is another article.
And the new Iranian plan to attempt to force people to have more children can hardly help.