EghtesadOnline: In the past five years desalination capacity in southern Hormozgan Province has increased six fold, managing director of the Hormozgan Water and Wastewater Company said.
“The present annual capacity of 46 million cubic meter was 8 mcm in 2015,” Amin Qasmi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
After development plans in Bandar Abbas and Sirik County desalination units are implemented, (desalination) capacity will increase to 89 mcm a year by March 2021, he said, adding that the rise will gradually help end water transfer from Esteqlal Minab Dam, the main source of potable water in the provincial capital Bandar Abbas.
"Desalination plants in the province, which annually produce 46 mcm of potable water, meet 26% of the region’s demand. Wells and dams account for 74%.”
The official noted that like in other provinces, underground resources are depleting in Hormozgan and tapping into unconventional water resources, namely seawater, is now a compulsion.
Referring to water schemes to ease water shortages in the region, he said a water desalination unit was completed in the village of Ziarat in the central district of Bandar Lengeh. Using reverse osmosis technology, the plant went on stream in September and purifies 3,000 cubic meters of water a day.
Hormozgan has a population of 1.6 million and 1.1 million are covered by the provincial water company. There are 17 desalination units in the coastal region that produce 120,000 cubic meters of water a day.
Currently, 20 desalination units are being constructed. It is expected that by 2022 use of underground water resources will be cut to 40% and share of purified water will rise to 60%.
Although close to 60 desalination plants with a capacity of 250,000 cubic meters per day (91 mcm per year) are functioning in different parts in Iran, desalinated water comprises a meager 0.1% of the total annual water consumption while in some neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia it is 70%.
Iran's annual water consumption is about 100 billion cubic meters, of which less than 100 million cubic meters is produced by desalination plants in coastal regions, namely Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Bushehr.
Approximately 142 million cubic meters of seawater is desalinated on a daily basis around the globe. However, Iran's share is as little as 250,000 cubic meters (per day).
According to Shahin Pakrouh, deputy chief engineer at the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company (Abfa), dependence on rainwater and river runoff in drought-stricken regions can no longer meet mounting demand.
That is why unconventional water resources, such as reclaimed and desalinated water, have emerged as effective solutions for the sustainable and long-term management of drinking water in parched regions like Hormozgan and Bushehr. Unconventional water resources are those that are generated as a by-product of specialized processes such as desalination; or that need suitable pre-use treatment before use for irrigation.
The role and significance of water reuse as a solution to Iran’s worsening water problems has increased in recent years. Many regions namely Isfahan, Hormozgan and Semnan have already started to reuse water either with the help of wastewater facilities or large-scale desalination.