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Water shortage serious threat for most Iranian cities

Xinhua, May 6, 2015 Adjust font size:

More than half of Iran's cities are struggling with water shortages, the state media reported on Tuesday.

Most cities in the country are facing the crisis of drinking water shortage, Esmaeil Najjar, deputy interior minister, was quoted as saying by Press TV.

"Over the past two decades, the scourge of drought has struck our country" as Iran lies on an "arid belt" on Earth, said Najjar, also Iran's crisis management chief.

About 60 percent of the reservoirs are already empty and there has been a decrease of 16 percent in inflow of water into the reservoirs since the start of last autumn, Press TV said quoting a recent announcement of Iran's Energy Ministry.

As the temperature starts to rise, water scarcity is becoming a source of serious concerns for Iranian officials and people in the central and southern part of the country, including the capital Tehran.

Last summer, Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said that residents in Tehran should take water shortage seriously, and shoulder their share of responsibility.

Also, Iran Environment Protection Organization Masoumeh Ebtekar said water resources should be managed properly and consumption should be fairly regulated.

"The biggest problem of all is the massive inefficiency inside Iran's agricultural sector, which uses more than 92 percent of the country's total water supplies," Press TV reported on Tuesday citing the recent comment of the expert Roozbeh Aliabadi.

"The country's most important lakes and rivers are drying up at a frightening rate as climate change, poor infrastructure, shortsighted policies and a skyrocketing population send the country into crisis," Aliabadi was cited as writing.

Further reports also blamed the water crisis in Iran on excessive damming of rivers, bad irrigation practices, drought and climate change.

On top of this, low water prices encourage wasteful consumption while some farmers and organizations have been accused of stealing water supplies for their own purposes.

A 2013 study conducted 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.