People, Environment

Water Transfer Essential to Makran Development

Water Transfer Essential to Makran Development
Water Transfer Essential to Makran Development

The only way to oil the wheels of commerce and development in the semidesert Makran coastal strip along the Persian Gulf is siphoning large amounts of water from the Gulf of Oman, according to a researcher and water resources expert.

“Transfer of water from the gulf—which connects the Arabian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz and, by extension, the Persian Gulf—is a necessity for large-scale development projects in the area,” noted Hossein Ali Bahrami, an inspector of the Water Scarcity and Drought Adaptation Office at the Iranian Science Association.

The Makran Coast has been earmarked as a prime location for development, as its geographical position makes it an ideal place for a commercial hub in southern Iran.

Transferring the waters without endangering the environment is a must, he said, adding: “The only real question that remains is whether to supply water to the region before or after desalination.”

To find the best strategy, multi-faceted studies on the ecological and environmental conditions of the area as well as the environmental impacts of transferring water are necessary, Bahrami told Mehr News Agency.

Since transferring water “is not complicated” and Iran has a “long history of implementing similar projects,” carrying out the scheme will not be difficult, he added.

Environmentalists are inherently opposed to projects that require water to be desalinated, as the process produces large quantities of brine, which is normally diluted before it is returned to the water body from where it was retrieved. The problem is that brine is denser than seawater and therefore sinks to the ocean bottom and can damage the ecosystem. Careful reintroduction can minimize the impact, but cannot entirely eliminate it.

Officials, including Parvin Farshchi, deputy for marine environment at the Department of Environment, attribute the rising salinity of the Persian Gulf in the past two decades to human activities and desalination plants.

With a dry climate, Makran’s narrow coastal plain rises rapidly into several mountain ranges. Much of the population in the area is concentrated in a string of small ports including Chabahar, Gwadar, Jiwani, Jask, Sirik, Ormara and many smaller fishing villages. Stretched along several harbors, the coastline plays a key role in ocean and coastal economies of Iran.