Iran finalizes water transfer project for dry east
Top government authorities in three eastern Iranian provinces bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan have signed an agreement to finalize a project for transfer of water from the Sea of Oman.
According to an IRNA report on Wednesday, governors of Sistan and Baluchistan, Southern Khorasan and Razavi Khorasan had inked the agreement which allows works to start on a multi-billion project to pump water from installations in the port city of Chabahar to the three provinces sitting in Iran’s arid east.
A representative of Iran’s Ministry of Energy was also present during the signing of the contract in holy city of Mashhad, a provincial capital and a metropolis of 3.5 million people which many believe could face severe water shortages in several years time.
The project is the second of its kind seeking to divert water from southern Iranian seas to the highland.
The $5bn project would include 1,600 kilometers of pipelines, major desalination plants stationed in Chabahar and other installations.
The project is estimated to take 10 years to conclude, said Alireza Razm Hosseini, the Governor of Khorasan Razavi, which includes the holy city of Mashhad.
He said foreign finances would be sought for the project which is totally awarded to private contractors.
The official added that the project would be mostly dedicated to supply of drinkable and farming water to Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran’s second largest province which has suffered from rounds of drought over the past decades.
Reports said a total of 400 million cubic meters of water could be desalinated and transferred from the Sea of Oman to the three provinces in a first phase of the project.
Iran has already started works on a similar project to pump water from the Persian Gulf to 16 provinces in the Iranian Plateau.