EghtesadOnline: The first phase of a project to transfer water from the Persian Gulf to Kerman Province is completed and will be inaugurated soon, the provincial governor said.
“The 300-km pipeline with seven pumping stations will annually transfer 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water from the Bandar Abbas desalination plant in southern Hormozgan Province to Sirjan in southwest Kerman Province,” Mohammad Javad Fadaei was quoted as saying by IRNA.
An undertaking of the Persian Gulf Water Supply and Transmission Company, work on the project started in 2016 and cost $300 million.
Of the total water to be transferred, 150 mcm will be sold to industrial plants namely the Gol-Gohar Mining and Industrial Complex in Sirjan, Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine in Rafsanjan County and the rest for drinking in the parched region.
“A consortium of nine Iranian banks invested $100 million in the project, the rest ($200 million) was put up by Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company, Gol-Gohar Mining and Industrial Complex and National Iranian Copper Industries Company.”
On the second phase he said it will extend from Gol-Gohar Mining and Industrial Complex , Iran’s largest iron ore concentrate and pellet producer, to Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine and then to Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company in Yazd Province.
It is expected that transferring water from the Persian Gulf in the south will help alleviate the water crisis in the two industrial regions that have limited access to underground water resources and suffer from low precipitation.
“Each year, a whopping 6 billion cubic meters of water is withdrawn from the drought-stricken province’s aquifers, of which 95%, 2% and 3% are respectively used by the agro sector, industries and households.”
The plains around Kerman no longer have the capacity for deeper wells to reach groundwater, and water transfer is apparently the last best available option, Mostafa Mousavi, the civil affairs deputy to the Kerman governor said.
“With the systemic rise in water consumption since summer, we are facing difficulty meeting demand.” Climate change and global warming has resulted in rising temperatures across continents and summers in Iran too have become much hotter compared to a quarter century ago.
Water demand in Kerman is 3,000 liters per second while maximum production capacity is 1,850 liters/second.
The province’s drinking water comes from 365 wells, three springs, eight aqueducts and two dams. The desert province, as is the case in most other regions in Iran, has been grappling with drought for years and piling unsurmountable pressure on urban authorities.
Officials have warned that the region’s groundwater balance is negative; meaning that the rate of water withdrawal is over and above recharge.
Prolonged drought and rising temperatures in Iran, in line with global warming, have led to a rapid decline in the recharge of groundwater resources.
Although experts consider water transfer schemes to be environmentally hazardous and destructive, using water from Persian Gulf is the last resort. Many Arab littoral states have long been drawing water from the gulf at very high costs.
Located in an arid and semi-arid area, Iran is facing huge water deficits as less rainfall has become a norm (with very few exceptions) while climate change, waste and mismanagement continue to take a high toll. Overconsumption and depletion of underground resources for farming have made a bad situation worse.
Iran is blessed with an abundance of underground riches, as it is home to various world-class mines holding minerals like iron ore, precious metals such as gold and turquoise.
The country possesses over 68 types of minerals with more than 37 billion tons of proven and 57 billion tons of potential reserves, including large deposits of coal, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromium, uranium and gold.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's largest zinc, ninth largest copper, 12th largest iron ore and 10th largest uranium reserves.
Overall, Iran holds more than 7% of global mineral reserves, most of which are located in Kerman and Yazd.