EghtesadOnline: Construction of two desalination plants in Qeshm Island, Hormozgan Province, has started to improve water supply to rural areas, managing director of the Hormozgan Water and Wastewater Company said.
“Parts of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf, especially the west of the island, are facing serious water shortages,” Amin Qasmi said, and added that the project to desalinate and provide 31,000 plus rural population in 18 villages safe water will help alleviate water stress in the region, the Energy Ministry news portal Paven reported him as saying.
The desalination units are to come on line by the end of the year and will each have a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters a day, he added.
“Carried out by the private sector, the project is estimated to cost $6 million. The investor is Tana Energy Group, one of the main companies involved in desalination in the southern province,” he said.
One achievement of the company is the construction of a 100,000 cubic meter desalination plant in Bandar Abbas, which produces quality water to the Hormozgan Water and Wastewater Company, Qasmi said.
Founded in 2010, Tana Energy Group is active in water and power, oil and gas and rail transport.
According to the official, construction of another desalination plant has started in Bandar Abbas. With a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters per day, the plant will supply water to 10,000 people in five villages.
In the past five years desalination capacity in Hormozgan has increased six fold, he recalled. “The present annual 48 million cubic meter capacity was 8 mcm in 2015”.
Like in other provinces, underground resources are depleting in Hormozgan and tapping into unconventional water resources, namely seawater, has become a compulsion.
Hormozgan has a population of 1.6 million and 1.1 million are covered by the provincial water company. There are about 20 desalination units in the coastal region.
Although close to 60 desalination plants with a capacity of 250,000 cubic meters per day (91 mcm per year) are operating in Iran, desalinated water comprises a meager 0.1% of the total annual 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 via desalination namely in coastal Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Bushehr.
Approximately 142 million cubic meters of seawater is desalinated daily around the globe. Iran's share is as little as 250,000 cubic meters.
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.