Iraqi Government to Tackle Drought

"The Iraqi government will take new procedures to combat drought in Iraq. It will launch a new initiative to control the drought and support the agricultural initiative that started last year", a source in the Iraqi government said on Tuesday, as reported by AK News.

"There is a fear that the water levels in Tigris and Euphrates rivers may decrease by 2016 to about 23 percent, according to the latest governmental studies, because of the Turkish dams established on Tigris River… the initiative, which will be launched in the coming days, emphasises the need to find new alternatives to irrigate crops and use water properly. It also encourages the Iraqi exploitation of groundwater, especially in regions of Kurdistan", the source explained.

The Planning Minister Ali Baban confirmed on Monday that "the agricultural and industrial sectors in Iraq are passing through a critical phase that includes a lot of problems”.

The Ministry of Water Resources had warned earlier about a Syrian project that plans to irrigate about 200 thousand hectares of its land from the Tigris River. [See our previous article about the 'Friendship Dam'.]

Iraq has witnessed recently a severe crisis in water supply: dozens of rivers and streams in Iraq are suffering from drought. The reduced levels of fresh water in the Shatt al-Arab have increased the amount of salt in the water in Basra, thus threatening agricultural land.

Iraq and Syria accused Turkey last September of reducing their share of water from 500 cubic meters per second agreed in 1987, to less than 120 cubic meters per second, according to experts, while the Turkish government attributed this to the lack of rain, high temperature, and low water levels in the Ataturk dam.

(Source: AK News)

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