EghtesadOnline: Khorasan Razavi Water and Wastewater Company has completed feasibility studies to supply water from the Oman Sea to three provinces, operator of the project said Sunday.
"The plan is estimated to cost $3.9 billion and will be funded with the help of both private sector and the state companies," Ali Abdollahi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Water from southern Iran will be transferred to water-stressed Sistan-Baluchestan, South Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi provinces.
“Based on the initiative, 750 million cubic meters of water will be supplied annually from the Oman Sea to these provinces for drinking and farming,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Referring to the length of the pipeline, he said the 1,514km meter pipeline will pass through at least 24 arid cities and towns namely Zabol, Khash, Konarak in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in addition to Birjand, Tabas, Taibad and Neyshabour in the two other provinces.
Abdollahi said transferring one cubic meter of water to Khorasan Razavi Province will cost $3.2. Upon completion, 200,000 jobs will be created in the deprived regions. The program is also expected to help stop and reverse the flow of economic migrants from small towns to the big cities.
As in many developing countries, in Iran too migration to major urban areas has increased over the past decades causing serious concern among economic experts, urban planners and policymakers.
The National Population and Housing Census, conducted in the Iranian calendar year (March 2016-2017), found that 74% of the population of 80 million now lives in cities, up from 71.4% in 2011.
Put simply, barely 26% of the country’s population now lives in rural areas – an unambiguous warning to decision and policy makers that their development policies have been a failure.
For more than a quarter century social scientists and academia have warned successive governments in Tehran that their development policies are ineffective at best and that danger lies ahead in terms of demographics and infrastructure pressure on urban areas. As usual, their calls fell on deaf ears.
Located in one of the world’s most parched regions, Iran’s average precipitation has been lower than the global average for at least 10 years.
According to a member of Majlis Urban Affairs Commission, Sodeif Badri due to the government’s limited financial resources, private companies should help in implementing the Oman Sea project.
Badri added that a letter to this effect from the key commission has been sent to Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani to incentivize the private sector in this regard.
“We have said that private companies can borrow from the National Development Fund,” he noted, and hoped that the proposal would be accepted.
A study conducted by Washington DC-based World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas has ranked Iran, followed by Qatar, Israel and Lebanon, as the world's 4th most water-stressed nation, putting it at extremely high risk of future water scarcity which will reach a point of no return as early as 2022 if it is not addressed properly.