| IRANIAN WATER EXPERT AZARANFAR: "WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN IRAN"
ORSAM - ORSAM Water Research Programme carried out an interview with the Iranian Water Expert Arash Azaranfar within the framework of SIDA Training Programme held in Istanbul. Azaranfar indicated that the management of water resources in Iran is under the authority of each province.
ORSAM: Mr. Azaranfar, first of all, could you tell us about yourself?
Arash Azaranfar: I am a Water Resources Management Expert, and I work in an engineering consultancy company.
What is the water problem in Iran? And what are the reasons of the water problem?
Problems of water in all countries (such as Turkey) are almost similar. Water shortage, increasing demand for drinking and irrigation water, and the fact that many regions are going through problems related to drinking water can be counted as some of the water problems. Developments in river basin are under the authority of the provinces in Iran. A major company, Water Resources Management Company, which is affiliated to Deputy of Water and Waste Water affairs of Iranian Ministry of Energy, governs provinces related water authorities.
Under governance and regulation of Water Resources Management Company, certain provinces consider the water transfer to another basin as extra water after considering all demands in donor basin. So it isn’t easily gave permission to water transfer from donor basin. On the other hand, in certain basins; such as in Euphrates-Tigris basins in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, down stream riparian develop some projects for irrigation, in advance. And the up stream riparian wants to develop projects in order to achieve economic benefit. In my individual study, the example is Zohreh River basin, and I will investigate this process in four provinces of Iran
Is this river your national water?
Yes, I have studied my IP for Iran interior waters.
The aforesaid water resource is located within the borders of more than a single province, isn't it?
What is the extent of the pollution problem, especially salinity, in rivers in Iran?
Each river basin has its own geomorphologic characteristics, if the river passes trough saline lands, concentration of saline will increase, and for example in center of Iran we have some saline rivers. Another main subject is rate of precipitation, any decreasing in precipitation cause changes in concentration of other materials in river flows.
Is Markazi (Central) province the region, where water problem takes place at highest rates?
The climate conditions and low precipitation especially prevailing at central Iran are the primary causes of the water deficiency. However, the same condition also goes for Yazd and Isfahan provinces. So we carried out some water transfer projects to these regions.
On press, it is said that Iran has been planning to construct dam on Karun River, right?
Iran dam construction industry has been developed after Islamic Revolution since 1978, and just now Iranian Ministry of Energy (Water and Electricity) has developed dam construction to several countries in Africa, Central Asia, Afghanistan and other countries. So Iran has developed dam construction in all of the provinces which have capacity for dam construction. Because of Iran wide arid and semi arid regions, construction of dams are very necessary for managing and programming water master plans in droughts for potable, agriculture, industry and environment consumptions. Most of the dams on Karun River were built in order to generate power.
Is the salinity problem in Karun River resulted from the problem solving projects, or from the natural struture of the river?
As I referred in previous questions, Salinity according to geographic and hydrologic condition of basin, drought and precipitation, changes in rivers. Construction of a dam could not be considered as main reason of salinity.
What could you say about the Helmad River? Do you have any agreement with Afghanistan?
A good question, in your website you have a page about Iran and a statement about Iran and Afghanistan which are completely false. Iran and Afghanistan have signed a water treaty about Hirmand (Helmand) River since 1973. Iran's water right in Hirmand (Helmand) River is 26 m3/s (Annual Average) which changes monthly from 2.32 m3/s to 78 m3/s. After Falling of Taliban, Iran and Afghanistan confirmed another time the treaty and have participated 13 common sessions (yearly) in their countries.
What is the situation on Aras River?
The Aras transboundary basin is shared between Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The river gets its main water from Turkey and Armenia (upstream) and discharges to Azerbaijan. Iran and former USSR had some agreements for Aras River which are valid and confirmed by newly independent states (Azerbaijan and Armenia). According the above agreements, Iran and Azerbaijan and Armenia have developed their common water works such as flood control, river engineering, dam and hydropowers and river pollution monitoring. The Aras Dam has been constructed 40 years ago over Aras Transboundary River by Iran and Former USSR. Iran and Azerbaijan will have a celebrating ceremony of 40th anniversary of Aras Dam Operation. Also Iran and Azerbaijan has constructed Khoda Afarin Dam since 2007.
Is the appropriation of water between the two countries at the rate of 50 per cent – 50 percent?
Yes, the appropriation of water is at the rate of 50 per cent – 50 percent. On Aras River, both Armenia and Azerbaijan are riparian to Iran. And Iran has bilateral agreements separately with both countries.
Were the agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan, both having borders to Aras River, signed bilaterally? Is there any agreement the three countries signed?
Yes, all the agreements are bilateral.
What can you tell about the water resources management? All provinces manage the waters, which are located within their borders, under their authorities.
Iran Water resources Management Company governs provincial water authorities and as our water authorities are provincial, they have to cooperate on their river basins. So according the laws and criteria of Ministry of Energy and Deputy of Water and Waste Water Affairs, Iran Water resources Management Company controls relations and plans of provincial water authorities.
Mr. Azaranfar, thank you for taking your valuable time for us.
You are welcome
This interview was carried out by ORSAM Water Research Programme specialist Dr. Tuğba Evrim Maden on October 8th 2011, in Istanbul