EghtesadOnline: Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on Sunday broke ground for three desalination units in Bushehr Province off the Persian Gulf as part of plans to provide the southern province with potable water.
"The projects with annual desalination capacity of 20 million cubic meters will be undertaken by private companies in the form of BOO (build–own–operate) contracts," Ardakanian was quoted as saying by Paven, the Energy Ministry news portal.
Giving a breakdown on the undertaking, he said the Dalaki-Vahdatiyeh desalination unit in Dashtestan county would become operational by next March and cost $2 million. With a capacity of 6,500 cubic meters per day, it will provide 35,000 people with potable water in the dry region, Financial Tribune reported.
Referring to the second project, he said, "Bushehr unit with a capacity of 35,000 cubic meters per day is projected to operate within a year and will supply 68,000 people with drinking water."
The third venture, Sadabad desalination unit in Dashtestan county, will cost $2.5 million and process 8,500 cubic meters of water a day that would be enough for 43,000 people.
According to the minister, three units with total capacity to process 75,000 cubic meters of saline water per day are operating in the province and when the new units are complete half of the population or 600,000 residents in cities and small towns will have access to desalinated water.
At present, there are 73 desalination plants across the country with a capacity to process 420,000 cubic meters of saline water per day and 148 million cubic meters per annum.
Iran plans to reach daily desalination capacity of 600,000 cubic meters of water by 2021.
Seawater or saltwater is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation.
Experts say Iran's expanding desalination industry can meet the demand for potable water in several cities namely Minab, Jask, Lengeh, Qeshm, Kish, Abu Musa, Deylam, Assaluyeh and Genaveh.
As a result, tapping into the sea to produce clean water is on the Energy Ministry agenda because it is much more viable in maintaining a sustainable supply of water rather than depleting the fast dwindling underground resources, most of which are on the verge of drying up.
According to officials, 18 provinces with nearly 60% of the total population are on the verge of water tension and addressing the worsening water crisis has become a major preoccupation of conservationists and policymakers.