An official from Iran’s Climate Agency announced that 95 percent of the country’s land mass is experiencing drought.
Shahrokh Fateh, head of the Drought and Crisis Management Center of at Iran’s Climate Agency, said that based on research over the past 12 months, “the majority of the country’s provinces and regions are facing mild to medium drought.”
Fateh added that Khuzestan, southern Ilam, northern Bushehr, western Kohkiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, parts of Esfahan and northern Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchistan, and areas in other provinces face even more severe drought.
In fact, 12 percent of Iran faces severe drought while only 1 percent enjoys a wet climate.
According to Fateh, a longer-term study covering an 84-month period ending in June also shows that 16 Iranian provinces are seriously affected and 96 percent of the country experienced mild to severe drought during that period.
He also added that what is worrisome is the long-term nature of severe drought in many parts of the country.
Following the announcement of a special security committee for tackling water crisis at the parliament, Deputy Energy Minister for Water Rahim Meidani declared that the water crisis in Iran has now become a security matter.
“The water crisis has become so sensitive that the issue was raised in the Supreme National Security Council, and we should try to eliminate it by all scientific and expertise tools available to us,” Meidani said.
Earlier, UN Development Program Resident Representative in Iran Gary Lewis was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Water shortage in Iran has currently turned into Iran’s most important humanitarian challenge.”
Water crisis in Iran, beside drought, is rooted in mismanagement and the misuse of resources which have led to many lakes, rivers, and wetlands drying up across the country.
Meanwhile, Meidani has reiterated that water rates in Iran need a thorough review.
“Based on the Sixth Plan law, we are authorized to rise water prices. Therefore, the Energy Ministry has decided to rise it step by step to the point where it matches the real cost.”
According to the Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), the government spends $0.30 on the production and distribution of each cubic meter of water, while the people pay only $0.15 for it.
In recent decades, subsequent governments in Iran have complained about “hidden subsidies.” They have all tried to compensate for this by raising prices. Nevertheless, increasing prices of vital commodities such as water and electricity has always been such a politically sensitive issue that governments have rarely dared to attempt it.