EghtesadOnline: An estimated 110,000 cubic meters of treated wastewater produced in Bandar Abbas Wastewater Treatment Plant in Hormozgan Province will be piped to industries in the west of the key port city, managing director of Hormozgan Water and Wastewater Company said.
“Talks have been held between Bandar Abbas Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Persian Gulf Special Economic Zone in the province and a contract will be signed soon,” Amin Qasmi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
After the agreement is concluded, the wastewater company will meet half of PGSEZ’s daily need for reclaimed wastewater at around 220,000 cubic meters, he said.
Referring to the upside of such moves, he said wastewater will be no more be dumped into the sea (Persian Gulf) and will be a news source of revenue for the treatment plant.
It is anticipated that major companies in PGSEZ, namely the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), Hormozgan, Kaveh and Saba steel companies as well as Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery, will stop drawing groundwater in a region grappling with severe water shortages for decades.
“As there were no buyers for the treated wastewater in the past, it had to be poured into the sea, causing ecological problems.”
The discharge of treated effluent in water bodies does not only lead to eutrophication and human health risks, it also contributes terribly to greenhouse gas emissions in the form of nitrous oxide and methane.
According to Energy Ministry data, less than 25% of the wastewater is recycled despite the worsening water crisis. The government is struggling to come up with schemes to curb water consumption and waste, especially in the agro sector.
Given years of dwindling rainfall and rising consumption, economists and independent experts have called for funding for collecting, treating and recycling water.
Wastewater is seen as a valuable resource to generate energy, nutrients and water for irrigation, industrial and even drinking purposes in several countries as governments awake to the gravity of the water deficit and its catastrophic impact on livelihoods, economic development and social welfare.
According to the International Water Association, around 80% of all wastewater is discharged into the world's waterways leading to health, environmental and climate-related hazards.
Estimates suggest global wastewater treatment capacity is 70% of the generated wastewater in high-income countries, and barely 8% in low-income countries.
Located in the west of the port city of Bandar Abbas, the economic zone boasts massive reserves of oil and gas, proximity to iron ore mines as raw material to steel industries and easy access to the open seas. It also shares the advantages of Iranian special economic zones, such as tax and customs exemptions to boost investment.
Hormozgan has a population of 1.6 million and 1.1 million are covered by services of the provincial water company.
Although Iran is located in an arid and semi-arid area, access to saltwater in the north (Caspian Sea) and south (Oman Sea and Persian Gulf) is seen as a potential advantages.
There are 17 desalination units in the coastal province that produce 130,000 cubic meters of water a day.
Several villages in the area have been abandoned due to water paucity, drought and joblessness. Expanding Bandar Abbas desalination infrastructure can help curb migration and contribute to sustainable rural development in the dry regions.