Power outages are inevitable next summer across Iran, the country’s energy minister has warned.
“Since the volume of water behind the dams is significantly lower than usual, if residents do not decrease electricity consumption, power cuts will be inevitable across the country,” Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian announced on April 8.
According to the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) “Electricity output from hydropower plants will not go higher than 6,000 MW this summer, while the figure stood at 9,300 MW last summer.”
The power generation reduction, coupled with the normal rise in consumption, will result in an electricity shortage of about 4000 MW, ISNA reported.
Iran is experiencing its worst drought of the past 50 years.
Ardakanian said even drinking water is “gravely” at risk, adding “We plan to impose water consumption restrictions on other sectors, including industrial and agricultural complexes, but individuals’ role in avoiding the water shortage is also crucial.”
Ardakanian has also admitted that “the expensive and limited supply of potable water” is used intensively by Iran’s industrial and agricultural sector. If this improper use continues, power outages and water rationing are inevitable.”
In a recent address to the conservative faction of Iran’s parliament, Ardakanian stated, “during the past fifty years, the level of precipitation in Iran has dropped one millimeter per annum, while the temperature has increased two degrees (celsius) every decade. Therefore, we are not facing a drought; we are facing water shortage, which is a permanent problem in Iran.”
The publication of the energy minister’s comments on water shortage has coincided with farmers protesting the governments’ water distribution policy in the central province of Isfahan. The farmers from eastern regions of the province have accused Ardakanian and his predecessors of mismanaging Iran’s water resources and diverting Isfahan’s main river, Zayandeh Rood, to the neighboring provinces in return for bribes.