A senior member of the Department of the Environment says a “water mafia” within the Ministry of Power is preventing that ministry from serious consideration of the country’s water crisis.

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Mohammad Darvish said a “powerful mafia” keeps the ministry from taking steps to address the water crisis.

“One hundred thousand experts and engineers are involved in this mafia, and the satellite companies affiliated with the Ministry of Power are on their payroll. Their paycheques depend on the continuation of water-transfer and dam-building projects, and they are not prepared to change their ways,” Darvish said.

The head of Education and Public Participation for the Department of the Environment said 500 trillion toumans is budgeted for dam-building projects, and another 150 trillion is needed to complete existing ones.

He added that economic interests are trumping the need to engage other sectors to address the sustainable development aspect of these projects.

Iran has been facing a water crisis resulting from several years of drought conditions, unregulated dam-building and the overexploitation of underground water resources, which has led to the drying of lakes and wetlands.