EghtesadOnline: Sixty desalination plants produce 250,000 cubic meters of water per day in the coastal regions, namely Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Bushehr, deputy chief engineer with the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company said.
“Twenty-five desalination facilities are under construction in Mazandaran, Sistan-Baluchestan, Semnan, Alborz, Isfahan, Kerman and Ilam provinces,” ISNA quoted Shahin Pakrouh as saying on Sunday.
Upon completion in 2022, desalination capacity will reach half million cubic meters a day.
Contracts worth $141 million were signed with domestic private firms in the past seven years to build 85 desalination plants that are gradually coming online, according to Financial Tribune.
Although Iran is located in an arid and semi-arid area, access to vast resources of saltwater in the north (Caspian Sea) and south (Persian Gulf) is seen as a major advantage.
“Desalination can produce a large amount of water for farming and industries.”
Two decades of drought are taking a severe toll on Iran’s depleting water resources. To handle the worsening water crisis, desalination has gradually become a viable option in many countries where seawater is in abundance.
According to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran has enough seawater in the north and south that can be exploited.
“We should provide water for the people. Iran does not have a water problem. The problem is with planning. We have water in the north and south. How is it that all Persian Gulf states are using it and we are not?”
Not surprisingly, the most desalination plants in the world are in the parched Middle East and their numbers are bound to soar as water shortages continue and pose bigger threats.
Persian Gulf Arab states need for desalinating water has jumped 11% in recent years, according to Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting firm involved in market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training across multiple industries.
Of the global desalinated water production of over 95 million cubic meters per day, more than 22 mcm is produced by countries with access to the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iran’s share is as meager as 250,000 cm/d.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain meet a large part of their needs for drinking water from the Persian Gulf.
Regarding the Caspian Sea, Rouhani has said that Iran should use it like the other littoral states. “Others are taking advantage of Caspian Sea water and simply are spectators. This is not the time for procrastination.”
The Caspian littoral states are creating a large amount of pollution and layers of oil are sometimes seen near Iranian coasts, he rued, adding that Iran is not using the water resource for excuses that are baseless.
Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian is of the opinion that the local desalination industry can meet the need for rising demand for potable water from the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.
Water desalination centers supply significant volumes of potable water in the northern and southern regions.
As a result, tapping into the sea for clean water is on the Energy Ministry agenda as it is seen as viable for sustainable supplies rather than depleting the dwindling underground tables, most of which are on the verge of drying up.
As per the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), 36% of potable water in the northern and southern coastal regions in Iran should come from the desalination plants.