EghtesadOnline: The first phase of a project to transfer water from the Persian Gulf to Kerman and Yazd provinces will be launched in October, thanks to the concerted efforts of private and state companies, managing director of the Persian Gulf Water Supply and Transmission Company said.
The transmission line that will transfer water to Golgohar region in Sirjan County, Kerman Province, is ready for inauguration. A desalination unit with 200,000 cubic meters of potable water per day will be completed next month and the first phase of the project will come online, IRNA reported Aliyar Yari as saying.
“The second phase, which will carry water to Mes-e-Sarcheshmeh, a city in Rafsanjan County, is 80% complete and is due to be inaugurated before the fiscal year is out next March,” Yari added.
The megaproject will later take water to Yazd Province. “It will include 11 pumping stations and 830 km of pipelines.”
Upon the launch of the first phase, a 300-km pipeline with seven pumping stations will annually transfer 200 mcm of desalinated water from the Bandar Abbas Desalination Plant in southern Hormozgan Province to Sirjan in southwest Kerman.
Of the total water to be transferred, almost 150 mcm will be sold to industrial plants namely the huge Golgohar Mining and Industrial Complex in Sirjan, Iran’s largest iron ore concentrate and pellet producer, and Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine in Rafsanjan. The rest will be used for drinking in the parched region.
Work on the project started in 2016 and so far has cost over $300 million.
Iran is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, It is home to world-class mines holding minerals like iron ore, and precious metals such as gold and turquoise.
The country produces 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 in Kerman and Yazd.
Transferring water from the Persian Gulf is intended to help alleviate the water crisis in the two industrial regions that have limited access to underground water resources and suffer from low precipitation.
Water in Kerman Province is generally supplied from underground resources, mostly deep wells. There are 35,000 wells in the province, of which 9,000 are illegal and have to be sealed, Kerman’s governor has said.
“The plains around Kerman no longer have the capacity for deeper wells to reach groundwater, and water transfer apparently is the last best option,” Mohammad Javad Fadaei was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Officials have warned that the region’s groundwater balance is negative; meaning that the rate of water withdrawal is over and above recharge.
Despite the fact that experts from different schools of thought consider water transfer mega schemes to be environmentally hazardous and destructive, using water from the Persian Gulf seems to be the last resort. Many Arab littoral states have long been drawing water from the strategic waterway at high cost.