Residents of one of the hottest regions on earth could face electricity shortages by winter’s end, according to a local official in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province.
General Director of Emergency Management Kiamars Hajizadeh told local media January 17 that an ongoing drought has depleted the water supply so drastically that some hydroelectric plants will soon have to stop producing electricity if more rain doesn’t come.
Khuzestan lies in southwestern corner of Iran adjacent to the Persian Gulf and Iraq, and has a very hot climate which has become even more extreme in recent years. Last summer, temperatures reaching 55 Celsius (131 F) were recorded in the province.
Residents of Khuzestan have long complained about the poor state of infrastructure in their province, where most of Iran’s oil is produced. They say that despite being the source of great wealth for the country, the government neglects them when allocating funds from the national budget, most of which are generated from oil exports.
Hajizadeh also reiterated that Khuzestan already experienced serious water shortages in the summer of 2017 that were unprecedented in the last four decades. He added that last summer temperatures were around 54-55 Celsius with daytime temperatures reaching 60 Celsius (140F) in the sun.
“Unfortunately [authorities] did not pay attention to all the warnings and today Khuzestan finds itself in this difficult situation,” Hajizadeh said.
The Energy Ministry says that since March 21, 2017, the start of the Iranian year, Iran has seen the lowest amount of precipitation in the last 50 years.
Rahim Meydani, an Energy Ministry official, warned that irrigation dams have received 30 percent less water compared to the previous year.
Regions adjacent to the Persian Gulf on the whole had 67 percent less rain last year. Some provinces had up to 75 percent less rain on the year, despite forecasts of more rain in some cases.
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said January 17 that provincial governors will form a group to deal with the water crisis. He has asked all agencies concerned to submit a report to him in one week explaining all the steps they have so far taken to deal with the crisis.