Water and electricity tariffs across Iran will increase by seven percent from April 21, energy minister Reza Ardakanian has said.

In an interview with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Ardakanian said yesterday that the decision had been made in accordance with an annual plan announced by the government three years ago.

Pressed by journalists about current water shortages, he said Iran had recently seen a 33 to 34 percent decrease in rainfall compared to the average for the six-month rainy season.

He added: “It is also predicted that in the spring we will have a 40% decrease in rainfall compared to the long-term average. This means that in the coming water year we have a reduction in water reserves that must be planned for."

About 10 percent less water than usual has been withdrawn from Iran’s dams ahead of what could be a difficult summer.

The new tariffs, Ardakanian said, would hopefully encourage farmers and agricultural firms as well as the Iranian people at large to “minimize water consumption”.

On the upside, he added, people who used just a third of their expected water and electricity consumption would receive a 100 percent discount, under two project euphemistically called Bargh-e Omid [Electricity of Hope] and Ab-e Omid [Water of Hope].

Related coverage:

250 Iranian Cities Face Summer Water Shortages

Isfahan Farmers: Where Is Our Water?

Iran's Disastrous Crisis Management

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