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EghtesadOnline: A water supply project in Sorkheh County, Semnan Province, became operational on Monday, Tehran Province Water and Wastewater Company (an Abfa subsidiary) managing director said.

“The 80-km pipeline transfers 10 million liters of water (10,000 cubic meters) from Tehran to the dry province a day,” Mohammadreza Bakhtiari was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The project cost $10 million and was contracted by the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company of Iran (Abfa).

The plan entailed digging four wells, four pumping stations and extending a 20 kilovolt power transmission line from Tehran to Sorkheh that is home to 15,000 people.

Close to 80 kilometers of pipelines were laid, half of which was via the mountainous Firouzkouh region near Tehran.

According to the official, water is pumped from Tehran to Firouzkouh and then to a storage tank in Sorkheh which can hold 1,500 cubic meters of water.

The current transfer capacity (10,000 cubic meters per day) will boost to reach 1.7 million cubic meters per day in 25 years, he said without providing details.

“Although potable water supply in urban and rural areas is improving, water paucity persists. Fighting drought is seen as a losing battle, so we should learn to coexist with it. We should be water wise and use the precious resource sustainably,” Bakhtiari said, warning that if water consumption patterns do not change, many parts of the country will turn into wasteland and entire towns and villages will become uninhabitable.

An estimated 100 billion cubic meters of water is used in Iran annually, of which 1.2 bcm is consumed in the capital.


Struggling With Drought

In related news, IRNA quoted Iraj Heydarian, managing director of Semnan Regional Water Company, as saying that the region’s 20-year struggle with drought is worsening, with the three main plains in dire need of water.

Eyvanaki, Semnan and Meyami plains, stretching over 3,175 square kilometers, are in the clutches of the perennial drought and need 13 million cubic meters of water to recover.

He urged those in charge to take quick measures to transfer water to the thirsty land. “If the authorities remain indifferent the threatened lands will soon turn into desert,” the senior water official warned.   

“Officials are struggling to find ways to transfer recycled industrial wastewater from Tehran, which borders the province in the south. We are negotiating with the Ministry of Energy about a plan. If all goes well, the water-stressed plains may have a fighting chance.” 

Lamenting groundwater depletion in the region, he said action must be taken against illegal water use, which according to experts and officials, is the main cause of the drought. There are 400 legal water wells across the three plains, of which only 100 have special water meters.


Smart Meters

Heydarian believes installing smart meters on the remaining wells and taking legal action against violators (those who dig illegal wells) will help rein in the worsening drought conditions.  

According to Semnan Governor General Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, the highly-publicized project to transfer water from the northern Caspian Sea to Semnan Province in north central Iran will “permanently” solve the province’s water problems.

The plan entails a 150-kilometer pipeline for transferring water from the Caspian Sea in the north to the drought-stricken north-central region. The proposal, however, has drawn the ire of environmentalists who say it would need cutting down trees in the ecologically-rich northern forests.

They note that such schemes at best are temporary solutions because the province’s main problem is poor water management and prohibitive consumption.


Tehran Semnan Water Water Supply