Iran Strives for Modern Technology in Water Sector

Iran Strives for Modern Technology in Water SectorIran Strives for Modern Technology in Water Sector

To optimize consumption of water resources, Iran needs state-of-the-art technologies in water management, an official at the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology said.

“As Iran is located in the arid and semi-arid belt of the Earth and its annual average of rainfalls is one-third of the globe, the country faces water scarcity,” Hossein Ali Bahrami was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Bahrami noted that water-stressed Iran is struggling to curb overconsumption in industrial and agricultural sectors.

According to the official, in addition to the optimization of water consumption and taking advantage of modern technology, the Persian Gulf country, due to its intrinsic shortage of water, should turn to new water resources, such as desalination of seawater and transferring it to the most water-stressed areas.

  Water Transfer Plans

Bahrami, however, said that as the transfer of water causes many environmental problems, it should be the last solution to override the water crisis.

There is no consensus on transferring seawater, either from the Persian Gulf in the south or the Caspian Sea in the north, to the central plateau.  Experts have serious doubts about the plan because of scientific and legal problems as other countries hold shares in the seas.  In addition, the discharge of wastewater from desalination units will damage the environment.   

Advocates of the schemes say these projects are essential to battling drought and sustaining industrial activities (most of which, such as steel and petrochemical production, are water-intensive), while critics argue that the plans will only offer temporary solutions that are not worth their environmental and financial costs.

Energy officials apparently make up the bulk of the supporters, while most opponents are environmentalists, climatologists and activists.

"Water-related technologies, especially in the sectors of desalination, wastewater treatment and water management, account for a large portion of the world’s economic transactions," Bahrami said, stressing that some European countries as well as Russia and China, among others, apply cutting-edge technologies in these sectors.

Iran has been successful in obtaining some technologies in the water industry, including for water desalination with the cold steam method and several methods of wastewater treatment, and it is making efforts to access newer technologies such as the application of membranes in treating water.

While average rainfall is around 750 millimeters in the world, Iran’s average precipitation has fallen to 205 mm in the past 15 years, down from 250 mm before a long and hard drought cast a shadow over the country.

In addition to natural factors such as climate change, human factor, including gross mismanagement, unrestrained urbanization and population growth, have led to water demand outstripping supply in Iran.

The agriculture sector gobbles up more than 90% of Iran’s scarce water resources.