People, Environment

Recycling, Technology to Help Curb Water Consumption

Art & Culture Desk
Recycling, Technology to Help Curb Water ConsumptionRecycling, Technology to Help Curb Water Consumption

Sharif University of Technology hosted the EnerWat 2016 on March 1-3, a conference on the relationship of water and energy.

The event provided a platform for international hydrology experts to discuss Iran’s struggle with water scarcity and the impending crisis.

The following is a brief report on the key points discussed in the seminar.

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian outlined his ministry’s plans to reduce water consumption and waste using modern technology.

“It is important to be able to control water pressure at all hours,” the minister said. “For instance, during the night when consumption is low, water pressure must be reduced; otherwise, it can lead to the erosion of pipelines and consequently water wastage.”

The ministry is installing necessary equipment across the country that will allow regional water and power authorities to efficiently manage electricity and water supply.

Recalling the benefits of recycling water, Chitchian said power plants in Iran are gradually starting to treat and reuse wastewater to meet the majority of their water needs.

“This has significantly helped reduce water use,” he said.

Obsolete practices have taken a toll on the country’s water resources, a point Chitchian concedes.

“Cooling towers use 1.5 liters of water to produce 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity, which is inefficient. We have to strive to use the latest technology in our structures to ensure efficient use of water,” he told the audience.

“It should be noted that new technology is not necessarily greener,” Kaveh Madani, an environmental management lecturer at Imperial College London said in his speech.

He said the water footprint of the global energy production is expected to rise by 37-66%, “which poses a serious challenge, especially since governments are more concerned with energy production than water conservation.”

Next speech was by climatologist Herve Le Treut, director of ISPL (Institut Pierre Simon Laplace) in France. The veteran scientist recounted the impact of climate change and a warming planet on water reserves.

“Greenhouse gases began to form about 10,000 years ago, but because the oceans take longer than the land to heat up, we only started feeling the impact of climate change about 20 years ago,” he said, adding that the rapid increase in carbon dioxide levels in the past 60 years sped up the planet’s warming even further.

Innovative ideas have taken over the hydropower sector, where most researchers work on creating hybrid forms of power generation, according to Richard M. Taylor, executive director of International Hydropower Association.

“Hydropower and wind are a good match, as seen in projects carried out in Tasmania and Australia,” he said. “Iran is following suit.”