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Tehran suffering worst drought in 50 years, says water official

TEHRAN, Iran — The Iranian capital is suffering its worst drought in half a century, a water resources official says, citing a 97 percent drop in monthly rainfall compared with last year.

Tehran has had 0.4 millimeters of rain since September 23, compared with 14.3 millimeters over the same period in 2020, says Mohammad Shahriari, deputy director of the company that supplies the region.

“Groundwater and surface water are at a critical state and there has not been a similar drought for the past 50 years,” he is quoted as saying by Iran’s ISNA news agency.

The five dams supplying water to the capital are at less than a third of their capacity, holding just 477 million cubic meters (under 17 billion cubic feet) of water instead of two billion cubic meters.

In September last year, the reserves held 729 million cubic meters of water.

Water consumption in the agricultural sector has gone up by 14 percent compared with last year, and by eight percent for industry.

Hydroelectricity generation has dropped by 40 percent in the past six months, according to Shahriari.

Tehran is home to around nine million people.

In July, deadly protests broke out in the drought-hit southwestern province of Khuzestan after people took to the streets to vent their anger over water shortages.

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