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Iranian President Orders No Water Rationing

TEHRAN, Iran

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani this week ordered the country’s Energy Ministry not to implement water rationing as a means of dealing with ongoing drought in the country.

An adviser to the energy minister, Hamidreza Janbaz, said 517 cities across Iran are facing water shortages. However, “the energy ministry will face no difficultly in providing the country with enough water,” Iran’s Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.

“We plan to transport water to 6,000 villages via tankers,” Janbaz added.

Last month, Deputy Energy Minister Sattar Mahmoudi said 12 major cities, including the capital, Tehran, are facing “alarming” water shortages.  He said the Energy Ministry had been put on a state of alert to deal with the problem.

At the same time, officials had told Tehran residents that water rationing might have to be implemented. Khosro Erteghaei, head of Tehran’s regional water company, said the water levels at the city’s four reservoirs were at a critical level.

Erteghaei called on residents to reduce consumption, or else “we will have a problem.”

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian had warned at the end of April that the entire country was facing a water crisis. He told the parliament that Iran had lost some 10 billion cubic meters of its renewable water resources over the last decade.

"The energy ministry formed a special committee several months ago to monitor the water crisis and take appropriate decisions," Chitchian said.

Chitchian also said that Iranians consume 80 percent of their renewable water resources each year -- 20 percent more than “what is in the world considered a [water] crisis.”

The head of Iran’s Environment Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar, agreed that consumption is too high. She said this week that the country is very wasteful in its use of water and energy.

“Currently, Iran has the worst model in consumption of water and energy,” she said, adding that if current practices continue, “nature and resources” will be adversely affected.

“We should first know about resources and then make plans based on them, so that it would not lead to environmental disasters,” she added, pointing to the dying Lake Urmia as an example of poor planning.

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