In a move that could increase tensions over water supplies, the Kurdistan region’s minister for agriculture has announced that the Region is building 11 dams and plan dozens more.
“There are 11 dams now under construction,” Jameel Sulaiman told AFP. “We have studies and designs to build 28 more,” he added.
He said that the dams currently under construction in Kurdistan were “small and medium size,” with storage capacities ranging between one million cubic metres (35 million cubic feet) to 10 million cubic metres.
Four were being built in Erbil, five in Sulaimaniyah and two in Dohuk, but he did not say when they would be completed.
“We are building these dams in order to develop the agricultural sector in the region, and for water storage, because Iraq has suffered droughts for the past several years,” Sulaiman said.
Water is a major source of tension in Iraq, especially between the Kurdistan region and other provinces.
In the multi-ethnic Kirkuk province, Arab farmers accuse the Kurdistan region of ruining them by closing the valves to a dam in winter.
A growing water deficit and dams built by Iraq’s neighbours have significantly reduced the water flow in a country that was until the late 1950s a breadbasket of the Arab world.
(Picture: Darbandikhan hydroelectric dam)