EghtesadOnline: Eight provinces in Iran will be provided seawater after desalination, the deputy minister for water and wastewater affairs at the Energy Ministry said.
“The government has issued permits for Khorasan Razavi, South Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman, Yazd, Hormozgan, Bushehr and Fars provinces to use 8.5 billion cubic meters of seawater,” them ministry’s news portal Paven quoted Qassem Taqizadeh Khamesi as saying.
After desalination, about 30% of the total water will be turned into fresh water and an estimated 3 billion cubic meters of fresh water will be available for the eight provinces, he said.
Desalinating will be done by private companies and the government will only provide the technical and environmental blueprints. However, if the government needs to supply drinking water to some regions it will buy water from the private companies, the senior official said.
“About 20 countries have the experience in seawater desalination. We have drawn on their experience and fortunately the equipment used in this industry is becoming more advanced and cheaper as time goes by,” Taqizadeh Khamesi added.
In Iran, except for one or two parts that need to be imported, all equipment and parts for desalination plants have been indigenized.
More than 60 desalination units are operating in the country, mostly in the coastal cities. They produce over 420,000 cubic meters of water per day. Another 24 units are under construction. Upon completion in 2022, total desalination capacity will reach half million cubic meters a day.
Last week the second phase of a water desalination plant in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, was launched. When the two remaining phases come online by next March, its total capacity will reach 100,000 cubic meters.
Taqizadeh Khamesi said, “A desalination unit with twice the capacity of the plant in Bandar Abbas will come on stream this year in Kerman. Input will be from the Persian Gulf.”
To help ease the worsening water deficit in the arid or semi-arid regions and as the underground resources dry rapidly, producing water from saline sources that arguably contain high concentration of dissolved salts is inevitable, the official admitted.
Iran has access to vast resources of saltwater in the north (Caspian Sea) and south (Persian Gulf and Oman Sea).
Desalination can produce a large amount of water for farming and industries and possibly drinking.
Not surprisingly, most desalination plants in the world are in the parched Middle East and their numbers are bound to soar as water shortages create serious concern for rulers and pose bigger threats to livelihood.
Of the estimated 95 million cubic meters per day of desalinated water produced in the world, more than 22 mcm is produced by countries with access to the Oman Sea and the Persian Gulf. However, Iran’s share is a meager 250,000 cm/d, Informed stances against sea water supplies have become louder in recent years in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain meet a large part of their needs for drinking water from the strategic Persian Gulf.
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 desalination.