Iranian Minster of Energy Reza Ardakanian says the government has decided to ban the cultivation of rice in any province other than the ones in the north in a bid to control the serious water crisis across the country.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with a group of lawmakers, Ardakanian said cultivation of rice is not logical in dry and semi-dry areas.
Therefore, he added, the government has made its decision on the prohibition of growing rice in any province other than the northern ones.
“This is a policy adopted by one of the Iranian ministries,” he noted, perhaps referring to the Ministry of Agriculture which has long been opposed to cultivation of high-water-consuming plants in dry and semi-dry areas.
While the decision might outrage rice farmers across the country, experts believe such a ban seems necessary given the serious crisis in the country’s water resources.
No Need for Import of Drinking Water despite Serious Drought
Meanwhile, an Iranian lawmaker quoted Ardakanian as saying that the country doesn’t yet need to import drinking water in the current Iranian calendar year.
Seyyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini quoted Ardakanian as saying, “Though Iran is facing the problem of water shortage, the plight of drought in the country is temporary.”
“The minister also noted that over the last 50 years, we have witnessed a one-millimetre decrease in the precipitation level each year and a two-grade increase in the weather temperature of Iran each ten years.”
This shows that we face the problem of water shortage but not necessarily a dire drought and the current drought is temporary,” Naqavi Hosseini quoted him as saying, according a Farsi report by ISNA.
He added that the government has already established a working group including representatives from all relevant organizations to cope with the ongoing water shortage.
The Iranian lawmaker said exploring the issue of water shortage in Isfahan and Khuzestan provinces is at the top of the working group’s agenda.
He underlined that Iran doesn’t need to import drinking water from neighbouring states. “We are serious and resolute when it comes to the issue of water shortage.”
Naqavi Hosseini also said the issue of water shortage can be resolved only through managing both sides of the supply and demand chain.
During the meeting, three deputies from the energy ministry read out separate reports on the water resources across Iran including the dams’ water. They unanimously warned about the low level of water behind the dams.
They also warned that there would be a 5,000 megawatt of power shortage in the current Iranian calendar year because of the upcoming water shortage. The officials also called on the lawmakers to play a role in handling the problem.
During the meeting, the participants also discussed the urgency of managing the water distribution systems as well as the required reforms to make to the water consumption in Iran.