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Iranian Officials Warn Of Severe Water Shortages - Driest In 50 Years

Drought in Khuzestan province, Iran. Undated.

Iran’s deputy energy minister has said that the current Iranian calendar year, (March 21, 2017-March 21, 2018) has been the driest in the last 50 years.

Meanwhile, the agency in charge of forests and pastures has also announced that from 600 agricultural and grazing plains 355 have tuned arid. An official of the agency expressed regret that water resources have been abused, with 6 billion cubic meters of underground water a year being extracted illegally.

Rahim Meydani, another official of the energy ministry, has also warned of a drastic reduction in precipitation in the current year. He also disclosed that irrigation dams received 30 percent less water compared to previous Iranian year.

These warnings point to the fact that precipitation has been drastically less this year. Regions adjacent to the Persian Gulf had 67 percent less rain and in several other provinces, where forecasts were good, there has been 40-75 percent less precipitation.

The deputy energy minister has confirmed that only two northern provinces have received the normal amount of rain and snow.

These warnings come at a time that Tehran’s governor has voiced concern about a serious shortage in drinking water for the capital, saying that the region has had the least amount of precipitation in the last 50 years.

Experts, scientists and government officials have been warning of a water crisis for years. Local media report that the government does not have the necessary financial resources to take practical steps for improving water management.

Since the presentation of next year’s budget to parliament in December, there has been an outcry on social media against additional money for military and religious purposes.

One social media movement tagged as “Change the budget in favor of the people” has been demanding a reduction of appropriations for the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, religious institutions and the state broadcaster – all under the direct supervision of the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei.