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Wastewater Treatment Projects Underway in Iran

Wastewater Treatment Projects UnderwayWastewater Treatment Projects Underway

Expansion of wastewater networks through 100 new treatment plants is underway but officials say some major projects to supply water to remote areas are facing financial hurdles.

"Currently 107 wastewater treatment plants are being built as 99.2% of the population in cities and 72% in rural areas are connected to the wastewater system," said Behnam Vakili, head of a special department to enhance wastewater networks at the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company (NWWEC), ILNA reported.

More than 200 wastewater units, including 160 in cities and 35 in smaller towns are operational, according to the official.

The new wastewater treatment projects are part of plans to preserve the rapidly dwindling water resources as massive amounts of water are exhausted every year because of unsustainable farming practices and a lack of technology to recycle effluents for agriculture purposes.

"Around 6 billion cubic meters of water is produced per year but we don’t use it efficiently. For instance, water recycling in agriculture is below 50%," Vakili noted.

Almost 90% of Iran’s scarce water resources are consumed by the agriculture sector.

Iran is situated in an arid and semi-arid region and average precipitation rate has fallen to levels way below the global average while underground water resources are fast drying up.

Ali Asghar Ghaneh, the NWWEC deputy for planning and development said on Thursday that power supply projects in rural areas alone need $3.3 billion for completion.

"Some towns lack proper water and wastewater services," Ghaneh said.

Expansion of the wastewater network has been among the important projects in Iran over the past four decades, but funding hurdles and the disorganized urbanization has put a spanner in the works.

According to published reports, nearly 3,000 water and wastewater projects nationwide are incomplete due to a lack of funds.

The government has turned to foreign investments to push forward the long-pending water projects.

Last month, a €125 million ($140 million) agreement was signed with Turkey's industrial and construction contractor Kuzu Group for building a wastewater treatment plant in southwest Tehran. Negotiations have also been held with German companies for investment in water and associated sectors.

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