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Water Supply to Tehran Back to Normal After Devastating Flood

Jun 21, 2023, 9:24 PM
News ID: 37399
Water Supply to Tehran Back to Normal After Devastating Flood

EghtesadOnline: Heavy precipitation on Chalous road pushed massive volumes of thick mud and huge rocks into Karaj Dam west of Tehran and interrupted water transfer to treatment plants in Tehran.

Widespread disruptions in water supply to at least 10 districts in Tehran, following the devastating flood on Karaj-Chalous road, have been minimized and water pressure is back to normal, managing director of Tehran Province’s Water and Wastewater Company said.

“Heavy precipitation on Chalous road pushed massive volumes of thick mud and huge rocks into Karaj Dam west of Tehran and interrupted water transfer to treatment plants in the metropolitan city, which led to a drop in water pressure and caused intermittent water shortages,” Mohammad Reza Bakhtiari was also quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry’s news service.

Citizens in western and some central areas, including Fatemi, Sohrevardi, Shahran, Motahari, Enqelab, Shahriyar, Karegar, Jannatabad, Pounak and Shariati experienced water outages for 10 days, but now both water supplies and pressure have normalized, he added.

Bakhtiari noted that the main pipeline supplying dam water to treatment plants in Tehran was ruptured with rocks and clogged with tons of mud, which repairs took a few days.

“TWWC immediately dispatched water tankers to the affected areas to ease people’s distress in the hot summer weather,” he said.

Tehran’s wastewater treatment plants are in Shahrak-e-Gharb, Shahrak-e Mahallati, Ekbatan, Zargandeh, Qeytariyeh and Sahebqaraniyeh districts.

Over the past decade, an estimated $2 billion have been spent on expanding wastewater infrastructure in the capital that has a population of 13 million.

Local news agencies reported that lack of prior notice exacerbated the difficulties faced by residents, leaving them to endure the scorching heat without a reliable water source.

Images and videos circulating on social media showed residents in Tehran and nearby Karaj who had to queue in front of tankers to fill their water containers for quenching their thirst.

Apologizing to people for the inconvenience, the official asked people to consume water as prudently as possible.

“A total of 800 projects worth $500 million are underway to help expand the sprawling capital Tehran’s water supply grid,” he said.

Tehran Water Ring

About 300 contractors are carrying out local initiatives in different counties, the most important of which is a water supply project in the city of Tehran, dubbed Tehran Water Ring.

The mega project has made 85% progress and is expected to become operational in March 2024, he added.

Work on Tehran Water Ring commenced in mid-2015 and is planned to extend pipelines by over 180 kilometers for connecting seven water treatment facilities and ensure stable water quality and supply in the capital.

However, the project is facing operational hurdles, notably the difficulty in digging in the capital's tangled network of wells, pipes and tunnels.

According to the official, the province is home to an extended network of rivers (3,900 km) and protecting them from “mafia-like” land grabbers has become a colossal task.

“Due to the steep decline in groundwater levels, it is crucial to stop illegal water use in the metropolis. Last year, 1,337 illegal wells were closed and this year 1,400 more will be deactivated,” he said.

The number of unauthorized wells in the area is estimated to be 50,000. Wells in and around Tehran are in a bad condition with systemic water decline and experts have warned that the situation will not improve even with good rainfall in one or two years.

Curbing Consumption

Water experts rightly insist that the solution lies in curbing consumption and waste — key issues that have contributed terribly to the worsening water crisis in the dry and arid country of 84 million people.

Located in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, Iran’s average precipitation rate has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years. Some experts and environmentalists denounce a widely-held notion that chronic water shortages can only be alleviated by higher precipitation.

Around 1.2 billion cubic meters, or about 18% of the country's water, are consumed in Tehran annually. Tehran's subscribers need to reduce their consumption by 10% so that the water authority is not compelled to ration water.

Desertification, climate change, illegal water wells, wasteful farming practices, water-intensive industries in arid regions and injudicious water use in households are known to have a significant impact on the worsening crisis.

Dams supplying water to Tehran include Taleqan, Latyan, Mamlou, Karaj and Lar.

The five dams together can hold 2 billion cubic meters of water, but the water currently stored in them is less than 30% of their total capacity.