EghtesadOnline: Despite the visible reduction in per capita water consumption in southern Bushehr Province, the region is still struggling with severe water shortages, head of water quality department in Bushehr Water and Wastewater Company said.
“Annual per capita consumption has declined from 10,000 cubic meters to 7,000 cubic meters over the past few years. However, the province’s annual water deficit is in the neighborhood of 30 million cubic meters,” Jaber Mozafarizadeh was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry news portal.
Located in southwestern Iran, the arid province is one of the most water-stressed regions. The conditions in the province are so bad that water authorities dispatch water tankers to various areas (especially in the extremely hot summers).
One effective way to tackle the water paucity in the area is to collect and treat unconventional water resources including wastewater and grey water, the official said, adding that collection and use of agricultural drainage water has also helped, according to Financial Tribune.
Referring to the region’s enormous water deficit, he said 50% of the shortage (15 mcm) can be eased by tapping into wastewater resources.
“The commonly used conventional water resources such as rainwater or river runoff will not be adequate to meet the growing demand in parched areas. Increasing water scarcity and the alarming lack of rainfall will further undermine access to water resources in dry areas, namely in Bushehr.”
Limits on conventional water resources for future needs call for a paradigm shift to unconventional resources.
Unconventional water resources are those that are generated as a by-product of specialized processes such as desalination; or that need suitable pre-use treatment before use for irrigation.
Unlike conventional sources, wastewater is sustainable. Moreover, its volume has increased in Bushehr over the last decade.
“Close to $100 million worth of effluent is produced in the province which can be used in the industrial and agro sectors. But this is wasted largely due to lack of wastewater treatment infrastructure.”
According to Energy Ministry data, Bushehr water consumption in agriculture, industry and household sectors exceeds one billion cubic meters a year. Water for different sectors comes from surface, groundwater and desalination sources.
Three desalination units with total capacity to process 75,000 cubic meters of saline water per day are operating in the region.
Annually 871 mcm of water is used for farming in the province, households consume 114 mcm and 60 mcm is used by industries.
Main agricultural products in the province include wheat, barley, onions, sesame, tomatoes, eggplants, lemons and dates.
Known as an industrial region, Bushehr is home to major refineries and power plants. The giant South Pars Gas Field is located in the Asalouyeh County.
Iran’s sole nuclear power plant is in this province. The water needed for facilities is supplied from the Persian Gulf and their water consumption is not included in the data provided by the regional water company.