EghtesadOnline: The annual exhibition on water and wastewater, also known as Watex, opened at Tehran's International Fairground on Monday.
The 15th International Water and Wastewater Exhibition, which will run until October 3, is hosting several domestic and 13 foreign companies from Italy, Germany, Hungary, China, Turkey and Taiwan, the Energy Ministry's news portal reported.
The number of attending knowledge-based companies (and startups) has seen a whopping 7-fold increase, the portal said.
As Iran faces a worsening water crisis, the significance of getting familiar with and employing new water management systems have currently gained traction, Financial Tribune reported.
The four-day exhibition is an opportunity to raise funds for new and underdeveloped projects and display the latest services and modern equipment, such as water filtration and sweetening systems, automation solutions and measuring equipment.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Qasem Taqizadeh Khamesi, a deputy manager of the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran (Abfa) said, "Water management is vital for sustainable development and cannot be promoted unless relevant sectors cooperate to check the deteriorating conditions."
Putting water extraction from underground sources at about 41 billion cubic meters a year, he said this volume should be cut to 27 bcm per year to avoid a major disaster.
"Of the total consumption, 90% goes to agriculture. Household and industries account for 7% and 3% respectively," Khamesi said.
A key contributing factor to high water consumption is that “water is unreasonably cheap.”
He recalled that it costs the government 10,000 rials (7 cents) to deliver one cubic meter of water to farmers, whereas they hardly pay 100 rials (0.07 cent), which shows why they use the costly resource either to produce cheap products like animal feedstock or water-intensive crops like watermelon.
Iran's annual water consumption tops 100 billion cubic meters and independent experts and conservationists have warned that this level at best is unaffordable.
Grappling with rapidly dwindling water resources, persistent drought and unusually high levels of consumption, the government is stepping up efforts to modernize the dilapidated water network, build new treatment facilities and promote advanced farming systems to curb water use.