UNESCO, EU Launch Groundwater Project

"This programme marks a new chapter in the EU-Iraq cooperation. The European people are committed to assist the Iraqi people in their quest for quality basic services" explained Ambassador of the EU in Iraq Dr. Jana Hybáŝková. She also stated that "modern management of the groundwater assets is essential for Iraq and the EU is proud to be able to assist. We are confident that the results of the programme will last beyond the implementation to the benefit of the Iraqi people".

"Acquiring a full understanding of the water shortage in Iraq is the first step towards effectively addressing its deep social and economic impacts", stated the Director of UNESCO Iraq Office Louise Haxthausen. "By its completion, this survey will constitute the main technical reference for all stakeholders in the country's water sector.

It will provide new data, gaining extended scientific knowledge about the deep groundwater bodies of Iraq’s hydrogeological resources, which will lead to informed decision making and effective policies for an improved water resources’ management", added Ms. Haxthausen.

Considerable variability in the climate, upstream supply, and domestic use has caused Iraq’s hydrological system to undergo dramatic change over the past 30 years. Reservoirs, lakes and rivers are diminished to critical levels, while water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Iraq’s primary sources of surface water, have fallen to less than a third of their normal capacity.

The government estimates that it is down to 20 per cent of its reserves, and that close to two million Iraqis face severe drinking water shortages. Meanwhile, Iraq has gone from being a prominent wheat exporter to being the world’s largest importer of wheat. Lack of integrated and up-to-date information on hydrogeological resources is significantly undermining the government's efforts to address water shortage.

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