140 Water Projects Await Private Sector Investment

140 Water Projects Await Private Sector Investment140 Water Projects Await Private Sector Investment

The government is ready to turn over the construction, financing and operation of 140 water projects to the private sector, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said.

"We have lined up more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion) worth of projects in the water industry under build-operate-transfer, build-own-operate and buyback contracts," Chitchian was quoted as saying on Tuesday by ISNA.

The government is trying to shift the cost and construction of billions of dollars worth of industrial projects to private investors, as countless publicly-funded plans over the past four decades have been plagued by insufficient finance, miscalculations and foot-dragging.

"The Energy Ministry needs private sector's technology, management and financing for the projects," he said.

Chitchian added that his ministry is also looking for cooperation with foreign investors.

"One of our priorities is collaboration with international companies and banks and we are ready to ease the rules and regulations" to facilitate investment and transfer of technology in the underlying water industry, Chitchian added.

Iran has opened up its economy to foreign companies after international restrictions were revoked in January following a landmark deal with the world powers in July last year in exchange for placing time-bound curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

The country wants to revamp its aging wastewater network and insufficient irrigation systems and expand water and wastewater treatment plants.

Expansion of the wastewater network is one of the most important urban projects, but a lack of funding plus the fast development of urban regions have impeded completion.

Nearly 3,000 water and wastewater projects nationwide are incomplete due to a lack of funds, according to energy officials.

Chitchian said in July that Iran hopes to invest $12 billion in the water and wastewater sector over five years and attract $30 billion in foreign direct investment in the power industry by 2021, the end of its sixth five-year development plan.