TEHRAN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian government intends to restrict rice planting in areas where underground water is at alarming levels, Financial Tribune daily reported Saturday.
Water shortage will negatively impact the spring cultivation of agricultural products, the daily cited Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian as saying.
Farmers in some of the northern cities are advised to opt for the cultivation of oilseeds or fodder instead of rice, said Delavar Heydarpour, the head of Jihad Organization Mazandaran Agricultural.
Water reserves behind northern Mazandaran Province's dams have decreased by an average of 40 percent year-on-year since March 21, the beginning of the current Iranian year, he added.
About 92 percent of Iran's water resources are used up by unsustainable and wasteful farming practices, the daily reported.
Located in one of the world's most water-stressed regions, Iran's average precipitation rate has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years. Some 37 million Iranians are said to be living in water-stressed areas.