UN Official at London Symposium:
Water: Iran's Main Environmental challenge

TEHRAN, 18 January 2014 (UNIC)—UN Resident Coordinator in the Islamic Republic of Iran Gary Lewis said at Royal Geographical Society in London today that one of the main environmental challenges that Iran is currently facing is water management.

Addressing a symposium on environmental challenges in Iran he pointed out that the annual per capita water availability in Iran has fallen from a high of 7,000 cubic metres in 1956 to 1,900 cubic metres today which will drop to 1,300 cubic metres by 2020.   

Regarding water demand in Iran, Mr. Lewis said that the trend is driving inexorably in the opposite direction.  “On current growth trends, by the year 2025, Iran’s population is projected to reach 90 million and at this level, an additional 30 billion cubic metres of water per year will be needed to meet the growing demand,” he added.   

He identified water scarcity as the country’s top human security challenge and suggested that Iran should do four things in order to improve its water management approach.  First, must involve all interest groups in planning resource allocations.  Second, stop treating water as an open resource and price it effectively.  Third, better conserve and protect ground and surface water.  Fourth, increase water-use efficiency. 

He also pointed to human security threats in the form of desertification, deforestation, air-pollution and the loss of biodiversity – as well as a large carbon footprint – as challenges to be overcome.

Organized by Iran Heritage Foundation and the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, the two-day seminar entitled “Iran’s Natural Heritage: A Catalyst Symposium to Spark Measurable Change”, has gathered together international NGOs, conservation practitioners and internationally-renowned scholars from Iran and other countries to highlight the challenges that face Iran and the preservation of its unique habitats, wildlife and once abundant agricultural land.