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Iran Says 82 Percent Of Its Dams Are Full After Heavy Rains, Floods

Floods in late March, early April hit Iran's Lorestan province the hardest. This photo shows destruction in Pole Dokhtar. April 3, 2019

Iran’s water management authority says that after a season of heavy rains and weeks of flooding, 82 percent of the country’s dam capacity is full.

Iran was suffering from dangerous drought for nearly a decade and some cities were facing water shortages as recently as last summer. But the winter and spring of 2018-2019 had a different story to tell. After good precipitation in fall and winter, heavy rains began in March and lasted into April, flooding vast parts of the county and even endangering some of its biggest dams.

According to a report released by Iran Water resources Management Company, in this season 55 billion cubic meters of water has been released from dozens of dams, while in the previous season this number reached just 17 billion. The total capacity of operational dams is around 50 billion cubic meters or more than 13 billion US gallons.

Currently, dams are holding 41 billion cubic meters of water or 10.8 billion gallons. During the previous season there was just under 27 billion cubic meters. It means this year Iran has 53 percent more water behind its dams.

But all this came at a cost. Nearly 100 people lost their lives in floods and the country suffered $10 billion of damages in March and April. Although the government has promised compensation, it is almost impossible to help people rebuild, with oil and other exports drastically reduced by U.S. economic sanctions.

After four decades in power, the Islamic Republic heavily depends on oil income to finance its operations, as an inefficient economic system, huge subsidies for essential good and unproductive institutions; made worse by corruption and sanctions have led to a spiral of dependency on oil exports.