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Despite Floods This Year, 28 Million People In Iran Face Water Shortage

Floods in Poldokhtar city in Iran's Lorestan province, April 03, 2019.
Floods in Poldokhtar city in Iran's Lorestan province, April 03, 2019.

Latest figures published in Iran show 233 cities and towns still face water shortage despite plenty of rains in the spring that inundated vast areas of the country and killed dozens.

About 140 cities are in the state of yellow alert, with means ten percent water shortage, while 59 cities and towns are in the red category with more than 20 percent shortage. The rest face orange alert.

The cities facing water shortage have a combined population of 28.6 million or about one-third of the country’s total inhabitants, ISNA news website reports.

Iran suffered years of drought before the 2018-2019 rain and snow season, which brought more than normal levels of precipitation last autumn, floods in the spring and more rains and local floods during the past one week. However, one year of good rains is not enough to compensate for years of drought.

The country has more than 150 dams with a total capacity of more than 60 billion cubic meters of water. Currently, the dams are about half full, but the availability of water is not the only issue.

Many cities suffer from infrastructure issues, with insufficient purifying facilities or reservoirs. Iran’s Ministry of Energy has promised to solve shortages of water facilities until 2021 but amid U.S. sanctions and an economic crisis funds are hard to come by for investment in water systems.

This year’s rain season has had a good start, with precipitation in most of Iran, with officials warning of new floods in some locations. But he main issue remains management of water resources and more investments.