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EghtesadOnline: Semnan’s 15-year struggle with drought is only worsening, with the province’s three main plains in dire need of water.

Eyvanaki, Semnan and Meyami plains, covering over 3,175 square kilometers of Semnan Province, find themselves in the clutches of the seemingly perennial drought and need some 13 million cubic meters of water to recover, according to Iraj Heydarian, managing director of Semnan Regional Water Authority.

He urged officials to take emergency measures to transfer water to the thirsty land and said, “If the authorities neglect the problem, the threatened lands will soon turn into desert.”

During a recent meeting held in Semnan Governorate, Heydarian announced that officials are looking for ways to transfer recycled industrial wastewater from Tehran, which borders the province in the south, to the drying plains, Tasnim news agency reported.

“We are negotiating with the Ministry of Energy over the plan. If everything goes well, the water-stressed plains may have a fighting chance,” he said.

Lamenting groundwater depletion in the region, the official said action must be taken against injudicious and illegal water use that, according to experts and many officials, is the main cause of the province’s drought.

There are 434 legal water wells across the three plains, of which only 105 are equipped with water meters, Financial Tribune reported.

Heydarian believes installing “smart water meters” on the remaining wells and taking legal action against violators (those who dig illegal wells) will help rein in the country’s worsening drought conditions.  

Although Iran’s worsening water shortage has prompted experts to call for a ban on water-intensive crops, climate change is blamed for the current water shortage in the country.

Environmentalists, social scientists and the cross-section of academia and media have for years appealed to the masses to cut water consumption and called on officials to undertake meaningful reforms, but to no avail.

There is a strong consensus that if water consumption patterns do not change in the near future, many parts of the country will turn into barren desert while entire towns and villages will become uninhabitable.

A proposed plan to construct a 150-kilometer pipeline for transferring water from the Caspian Sea in the north to the drought-stricken north-central province has drawn the ire of environmental officials and activists, who say the plan requires cutting down trees in the ecologically-rich northern forests.

Furthermore, they say the scheme is only a temporary solution, since the province’s main problem is lack of management and excessive water consumption.

Iran Drought Iran water