0323 GMT February 18, 2020
Hossein Akhani, a university lecturer and outspoken critic of government policies on energy and water, believes the current problems stem from mismanagement of water resources and the solution is to draw up prudent long-term plans. This is what he had to say:
IRAN DAILY: What are the reasons for drought in Iran?
AKHANI: Experts blame El Nino for global warming and drought in parts of the world and Iran is no exception. Moreover Iran's climate is mostly hot and dry and is located on the arid belt. All these things plus a significant decline in precipitation and uncontrolled water use added to the current dire situation.
What brought the country to such a dire situation?
Iran has limited water resources which have not been utilized wisely. We made big mistakes in using and managing our water resources. Building dozens of dams is one of those mistakes. These dams stopped the flow of waters to the lagoons, wetlands and lakes and seeping into the earth and in order to replenish ground water resources. Moreover, we pumped ground waters up to the surface and to these dams and unduly increased the use of water. Through these measures, 85 percent of renewable water resources were consumed but according to international standards it should have been no more than 40 percent. The current water crisis is as the result of mismanagement.
What measures should be taken to bring the crisis under control?
Environmental experts have warned decades ago that development should not cause damage to the environment and natural resources and they should not be overused. If we want to tackle the crisis we should roll back some of current policies. Flowing waters should be allowed to pour into lagoons, wetlands, lakes, rivers and ground water deposits and the government should not build new dams, rather it should even demolish some of them.