Tehran suffering worst drought in 50 years, says water supply official

97% drop in rainfall has left five dams supplying the capital at just a third of their usual capacity for this time of year; hydroelectricity generation has dropped by 40%

Rooftops are seen under an overcast sky of Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Rooftops are seen under an overcast sky of Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

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

Tehran has had 0.4 millimetres of rain since September 23, compared with 14.3 mm over the same period in 2020, said 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 was 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 metres of water.

Water consumption in the agricultural sector has gone up by 14% 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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