EghtesadOnline: A total of 800 projects worth $450 million are underway to help develop the sprawling capital Tehran’s water supply grid, managing director of Tehran Province’s Water and Wastewater Company said.
“About 300 contractors are carrying out local initiatives in different counties, the most important of which is a water supply project in the city of Tehran, dubbed Tehran Water Ring,” Mohammad Reza Bakhtiari was also quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry’s news service.
The mega project has made 85% progress and is expected to become operational in March 2022, he added.
Work on Tehran Water Ring commenced in mid-2015 and is planned to extend over 180 kilometers of pipeline connecting seven water treatment facilities and ensure stable water quality and supply in the capital.
However, the project is facing operational hurdles, notably the difficulty in digging in the capital's tangled network of wells, pipes and tunnels.
According to Bakhtiari, upon the plan's completion, if any of the water treatment plants would stop working, other plants will replace it in the water supply system.
In the face of persistently low precipitation in the past 15 years, experts have called for greater focus on collecting, treating and reusing water for drinking and farming.
Data show Tehran has registered an average rainfall of 290 millimeters since the beginning of the current water year that will end in Sept. 21. Precipitation in the current water year has declined by 36% compared to a year ago.
“Tehran Water Ring will help save about 750 million cubic meters per annum, 400 mcm of which are to be injected into the underground water reserves, 300 mcm will be allocated for agricultural purposes and the rest is planned to be used in urban green spaces,” he said.
The official said the project was started from Tehran’s vulnerable southern districts and will extend to the north.
Sixth Treatment Plant
The chief of TPWWC noted that projects worth $650 million went on stream in the province in 2020, one of which was Tehran's sixth treatment plant that has the capacity to treat 7,500 liters of water per second and will help raise overall capacity in the province from 25,000 liters to 32,500 liters per second.
Located in the west of Tehran (Shahid Hemmat Highway), the project is an undertaking of the Tehran Regional Water Company.
“A part of stored water in Amir Kabir Dam [or Karaj Dam] is pumped to the plant through a 30-km tunnel,” he said.
There are five treatment facilities in the sprawling capital that treat 25,000 liters of water per second (2 billion liters per day) and the new plant has boosted capacity to above 30,000 liters per second (2.8 billion l/d).
Bakhtiari noted that close to 3 billion liters of water (3 million cubic meters) are consumed in Tehran on a daily basis (1.1 billion cubic meters per annum).
Of the total daily demand, 30% (1 billion liters) must be extracted from underground sources that are depleting faster than expected, and the new plant will help gradually cut demand.
Five dams, namely Amirkabir and Taleqan (in the west) as well as Latian, Lar and Mamlou (in the east), supply Tehran. The dams meet 70% of Tehran’s water needs.
According to the official, the province is home to an extended network of rivers (3,900 km) and protecting their banks from “mafia-like” land grabbers has become a colossal task.
“Due to the steep decline in groundwater levels, it is crucial to stop illegal water use in the metropolis. Last year, 1,337 illegal wells were closed and this year 1,400 more will be deactivated,” he said.
The number of unauthorized wells in the area is estimated to be 50,000. Wells in and around Tehran are in bad condition with systemic water decline and experts have warned that the situation will not improve even with good rainfall in one or two years.
They rightly insist that the solution lies in curbing consumption and waste — key issues that have contributed terribly to the worsening water crisis in the dry and arid country of 83 million people.