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In a new report, Tejarat News attributes Iran’s water crisis to a reduction in the country’s renewable water sources. The report gives two main reasons for this: first, poor agricultural practices, such as the planting of crops including watermelons and rice that require intensive irrigation in regions with insufficient water; second, the growth of steel industry operations, which again rely on large amounts of water, in the heart of the Iranian desert, including the Mobarakeh Steel complex (Isfahan), Saba Zagros Steel Factory (Borujen), Amir Kabir Arak Steel, Damghan Desert Steel, Fasa Steel Company, Yazd Steel, and Kerman Steel Industries. According to statistics from the World Steel Association, Iran produces 30 million tons of steel annually, which uses approximately 21 billion cubic meters of water. Citing the latest figures from Iran’s Water Resources Management Company, the Tejarat News report notes that as of July, the total amount of water stored by the country’s dams was 25 billion cubic meters, barely more than the needs of the steel industry alone. Where steel factories don’t rely entirely on dammed water, many have private wells that, along with 800,000 other wells across Iran, draw daily from crucial aquifers, which are increasingly being depleted.

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