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EghtesadOnline: The National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran (Abfa) has signed a memorandum of understanding on wastewater treatment with two international organizations, namely the International Water Association (IWA) and the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID).

The MoU, which was signed on Tuesday at Abfa headquarters in Tehran, calls for joint activities including the use and supply of purified wastewater in agriculture and urban areas, transferring advanced technology and R&D to promote safely standards in treatment and use of effluents, IRNA reported.

The spread of water crisis across Iran has compelled the government and water authorities to devise costly plans to help mitigate its impacts. Official reports say nearly 5,000 villages across the country are struggling with varying degrees of water scarcity.

According to the Energy Ministry, two-thirds of Iran is dry, precipitation has fallen to one-third of global average and climate change has adversely affected the intensity and periods of rainfall in the country which is situated in one of the world's most water-stressed regions.

The IWA is a self-governing non-profit organization that aims to cover all facets of the water cycle. The body is headquartered in London, with a global secretariat based in Hague. The group's mission is to serve as a worldwide network for water professionals and to advance standards and best practices in sustainable water management.

Established in 1950, the ICID is the leading scientific and technical organization. Through its network of professionals in more than 100 countries, it has facilitated the sharing of experience and transfer of water management technology, according to the organization’s official website.

Ali Asqar Qane’, Abfa’s planning and development deputy, said last month that supply of drinking water costs 10,000 rials (around 28 cents) per cubic meter in urban areas and 12,000 rial (34 cents) in the rural parts of the country, according to Financial Tribune.

However, water is sold at 4,000 rials (11 cents) and 1,000 rials (around 3 cents) in the urban and rural areas respectively, he added.

“Currently, about 98% of Iranians have access to potable water and close to 42% of the country is covered with modern wastewater networks,” the official noted, adding that Abfa is trying to expand wastewater network to more than 80% of the country in the next five years.

According to Bahram Fayyazi, Abfa CEO, the company has exported engineering and technical services worth $700 million in the last three years.

Abfa has also called on European and Japanese companies to cooperate in a wide range of water projects.

Wasterwater Projects Iran Wasterwater Abfa wastewater treatment IWA ICID