EghtesadOnline: Iran’s water supply network stretches over 460,000 kilometers, but there still are 10,000 small towns and villages with no access to piped water, director of the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran (Abfa) said.
“Expanding the grid to rural areas is a priority for the Energy Ministry,” Qasem Taqizadeh Khamesi was quoted as saying by Energy Today, a private media group.
“At least 7 million people in small towns have access to safe water, but a lot more needs to be done,” Financial Tribune quoted himn as saying.
The Energy Ministry is allowed to withdraw $280 million from the National Development Fund of Iran (a sovereign wealth fund) to wrap up incomplete water and power projects. From this amount, close to $180 million will be use to supply remote areas piped water.
An estimated $40 million will be spent on improving water quality in the parched regions and the rest on reducing the harmful effects of dust and sand storms on the national power grid, especially in the southern regions.
Referring to the wastewater network, he said the grid is about 66,000 kilometers which carries sewage to 240 treatment facilities to be recycled and reused in industries and for framing.
Khamesi warned that underground water resources are depleting rapidly and water crisis will emerge as a major concern in the near future unless demand is curbed and consumption is reduced. He did not elaborate.
Surface water sources and dams have also been adversely affected due to over consumption and waste.
“Water resources are so severely depleted that even 10 wet years may not be able to end the drought.”
Khamesi like the other water officials namely Hamidreza Janbaz, the managing director of the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company, says water demand in parched regions like Kerman and Yazd should be met through water transfer projects.
Referring to Zayandeh Rud in Isfahan Province, Khamesi said the mega structure held 1.5 billion cubic meters of water a few years ago. “The volume has dwindled to 1 bcm, this is while the population in the region has increased over the last decade.
He added that Kerman’s groundwater balance is negative; meaning that the rate of water withdrawal is greater than recharge.
New projections show that the province will face a worsening water crisis in three years if timely and effective measures are not taken for conservation.
Supplying water to Kerman Province from the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman is said to be the last resort.
Per capita consumption of water in Iran is higher than the global average.
One reason is that water is much cheaper compared to most countries. The cost of water is a miniscule -- 0.4% in household expenses because it is heavily subsidized.