Water, Energy Coop. Talks With Australia

[Australia has seen a renewable energy boom.
[Australia has seen a renewable energy boom.

Australia can expand collaboration on developing renewable energy and build water desalination projects in Iran.

Martin Leslie James Hamilton-Smith, the Australian, minister for investment and trade in the South Australian House of Assembly made the statement on the sidelines of a meeting with Alireza Daemi, deputy energy minister for planning and economic affairs, in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.

According to Hamilton-Smith, Australia has seen a renewable energy boom in the residential sector as 44% of its power comes from renewable sources. Plans are underway to increase the capacity to 60%.

Pointing to the collaboration between Iran's Sharif University of Technology and Melbourne University to conduct studies in the water and energy sectors, he added that "exchange of knowhow among academia should improve as it will help in the implementation of effective energy initiatives."

"Iran is interested in Australian companies' expertise in water desalination," Daemi noted.

Plans have been made to provide water-stressed regions straddling the southern coasts with potable water by building 50 desalination units, he said, adding that Australian firms can play a role in these projects.

Iran's fledgling water desalination industry not only needs financial support but also advanced technology to meet demand for stable supply of drinking water, particularly in the dry southern regions.

Referring to a memorandum of understanding signed between Iran and Australia in September on optimizing water consumption, the official said that bilateral water and energy cooperation cannot expand unless both the government and private sector rise to the occasion.

--- Mutual Concern

Referring to some similarities between the two countries' climatic system, Daemi recalled that parts of Australia also are suffering from dwindling water resources -- a critical issue that has plagued Iran for over a decade -- which explains why working together for efficient management of water resources is part of the bilateral cooperation.

“Upgrading water resources and optimization of technology tops the collaboration agenda,” the deputy energy minister said.

Iran’s water crisis has compelled the government to devise costly plans to help mitigate its impacts. Official reports say nearly 5,000 villages across the country are struggling with varying degrees of water deficit.

Two-thirds of Iran is dry, precipitation has fallen to one-third of global average and climate change has adversely affected the intensity and periods of rainfall in the country that is situated in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions.

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