Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture has announced that beginning in October of this year, the water allotted to agricultural developments will be reduced by almost 50 percent in accordance with a proposal by the Department of Environment.
ISNA reports that according to top ministry official Mohammad Hossein Shariatmadar, the plan is meant to counter the country’s critical water shortage.
The Ministry of Power will accordingly provide only 50 billion cubic metres of water for agriculture instead of the 85 to 90 billion provided before.
Shariatmadar stressed that agricultural self-sufficiency cannot justify the destruction of water resources.
He insisted that food security cannot be obtained at the price of destroying other resources.
He said wheat production will not be feasible until methods have been adopted to use water resources far more efficiently.
Iran’s efforts to increase wheat production have been thwarted by consecutive droughts, and the current administration has a plan to import seven million tons of wheat per year.
The Department of the Environment previously reported that the agricultural sector uses 93 percent of Iranian water resources, but its yield does not justify that level of consumption. Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has called for an overhaul of planting and irrigation models.