Iran, suffering from the fourth consecutive year of drought, has begun rationing water in the southern and southeastern provinces of Bushehr and Sistan-Baluchistan, state radio reported Thursday,June 14.
Gholam-Reza Manuchehri, who heads the nation's water resource society, was quoted as saying water scarceness had reached a "serious" state in eight of Iran's 28 provinces. "The provinces of Teharn, Kerman, Sistan-Baluchistan, Bushehr, Isfahan, Khorassan, Fars and Semnan are facing a serious lack of water," said Manuchehri, who is also the deputy energy minister.
The eight affected provinces account for some 25 million of Iran's 60-million-strong population.
Manuchehri said officials were also considering water rationing in other provinces. In another report, state television said Thursday that 35 percent of the nation's water resources were being wasted by "inadequate use," adding that consumers and officials lack an appropriate "consumption culture."
Meanwhile, deputy interior minister Ahmad Khoram said the nation's water reserves were down 45 percent this year as opposed to the previous years.
In 1999 and 2000, Iran suffered the worst drought in 30, with the United Nations warning against a possible human catastrophe if aid were not provided. According to official estimates, the drought last year cost Iran some $3,5 billion. ― (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )