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EghtesadOnline: A water desalination plant, with a capacity of treating 10,000 cubic meters of saltwater daily, has been launched in Bandar Torkaman in the west of Golestan Province. “The private sector invested over 300 billion rials [$6.8 million] in the plan, which will alleviate the shortage of potable water in the cities of Bandar Torkaman and Gomishan,” Energy Minister Reza Ardekanian was quoted as saying by ILNA on Thursday.

Ardekanian added that the plant will supply drinking water to 17,000 consumers. The cities have grappled for years with drinking water shortage in the hot season due to a reduction in the wells’ water discharge rate and wastage in the distribution network.

According to the minister, the government plans to invest 20 trillion rials ($453 million) in the industry to meet the demand of Iranians, especially those in border areas. Mohammad Hadi Rahmati, the managing director of Golestan Province Water and Wastewater Company, noted that the construction of water desalination plant started four years ago with the participation of South Raadab Engineering Company.

Rahmati stressed that the Energy Ministry has signed a contract with the private company under the build, own, operate framework, based on which the administration guarantees to purchase the plant’s output, according to Financial Tribune.

  Reverse Osmosis

“Using reverse osmosis technology, the plant purifies water by removing all bacteria, viruses and microbes,” he said. 

Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules and larger particles from drinking water. 

Environmentalists do not advocate the use of desalinated water, arguing that the environmental and financial cost of treating saltwater outweigh its benefits in the long run.

To tackle the water crisis across continents, desalination is becoming an attractive method to produce water from saline water sources. Around coastal regions, where salty water resources are plentiful, large and semi-large desalination plants can be effective. 

However, reports say that water desalination technologies are still costly and in most cases prohibitive. ILNA also quoted Ardekanian as saying that close to 300 energy ventures, including those in water and wastewater sectors, are underway in East Azarbaijan Province.

The minister underlined that the projects cost 80 trillion rials ($1.8 billion), half of which has been spent and the rest is due to be provided by the administration. Ali Asghar Qane’, the deputy head of National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company, told IRNA last year that some 55 desalination facilities, with a capacity of producing 129,000 cubic meters of water daily, supply water for drinking or irrigation to regions straddling the northern and southern coasts of Iran. Qane' noted that the units, completed at a cost of $170 million, have been up and running since 2016.

 

Reza Ardekanian Water Desalination Unit North Iran