Third International Exhibit of Water & Wastewater Opens

Sept. 9, 2004

The Third International Exhibition of Water and Wastewater Installations opened Monday in Iran wiith the presence of Irani Minister of Energy Habibollah Bitaraf.

According to Mehr News Agency, about 275 domestic and 29 foreign companies from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, UAE and Italy are participating in the five-day exhibition held at Tehran International Fairgrounds.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Habibollah Bitaraf said that lack of attention to economic value of water in agricultural sector could threaten the sustainable use of the limited sources of fresh water.

"If the decision-making institutions and the national administrators ignore this crucial issue, it can inflict irreparable damages on the national water resources and the farmers will suffer the consequences in the near future," he added.

The minister noted that average annual rainfall in Iran amounted to about 250 mm. "Half of the country's population living in northern and western Iran have access to 70% of the domestic water resources, while 50% residing in central, eastern and southern Iran have just access to 30% of the national water supply," he stated.

He said that growing population in the past 40 years has lead to the reduction of per capita share of the renewable water resources from 7,000 cubic meters to 2,000 cubic meters in recent years. The figure is predicted to reach 1,300 cubic meters by the next 20 years.

Concerning the serious challenge gradually created by water pollution, he pointed to excessive use of fertilizes and pesticides in farms, consumption of too much water by agricultural sector, development of industries, carelessness in treating the industrial wastewaters as new resources and the unavoidable flow of salty waters into fresh waterways as the major threats.

The minister said that by implementation of infrastructure projects and adjustment of water installations in recent years 95 bln cubic meters of water has been treated and made available for consumption.

He said that 27 major reservoir dams with an annual capacity of 6.3 billion cu.m financed from national credits and 32 more similar dams with a capacity of 80 mln cubic meters covered by provincial credits have been operated in the past seven years.

The Third International Exhibition of Water and Wastewater Installations will continue until September 10.


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