The new dams – which are both large and small structures, the Ministry said – will bring a further 2.5Bm3 of impounded storage into the national water resources network.

The Ministry added that at present, including a few of those due to come into operation early 2008, the country has 88 big dams under construction. In total, the dam projects should add 10Bm3 of storage capacity to the water resources network.

The number of dams under construction was first given in May, the figure being a slight rise on the total of 85 given in the previous month. Then, the Ministry said that a further 176 potential dam projects were being studied. No further information has been disclosed on the progress of the studies.

More recently, Iran has been liaising with both China and Turkey on dam-related projects. In June, consultant Poyry was awarded an engineering services contract on the 450MW Rudbar-e-Lorestan hydro project being built in the Dez catchment. The scheme, being built by contractor Sepasad Engineering Co involves the construction of a 180m high RCC dam.