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Iran supplying clean water to 9 million people in countryside: Minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a rural facility for water treatment in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan.

Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian says access to clean water in the countryside has increased by nine times in eight years to cover a total of nine million people across Iran.

Reza Ardakanian said on Thursday that an average of 30 villages had been provided with clean water every week in the past eight years.

The minister made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate major water projects across Iran.

The project opened virtually by President Hassan Rouhani included a dam near the border with Iraq in the western Ilam province.

The earthfill dam has cost over 4 trillion rials (nearly $20 million) to build and has a capacity to hold 84 million cubic meters of water.

During the inauguration ceremony, Rouhani hailed his government’s records on expansion of Iran’s water infrastructure, saying a total of 56 dams had been launched across Iran since he came to office for a first term in August 2013.

The figure is on par with the total number of dams rolled out in the country between the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the start of his administration, said Rouhani.

The Iranian president said his government had opened an average of six water treatment facilities and 12 sewage plants per year since 2013.

A report by the official IRNA agency said that the government had executed water drainage systems in nearly 345,000 hectares of agricultural lands over the past eight years.

That comes on top of massive desalination plants opened in recent years on the Persian Gulf coast to supply water to arid regions in central Iran.

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