New agreement between Ministry of Water Resources and FAO introduces innovative tools to monitor water productivity in Iraq
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Iraq and the Ministry of Water Resources launched yesterday the project Monitoring Water Productivity using Remote Sensing, as part of a global programme, WaPOR phase II, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
WaPOR, the FAO portal, to monitor Water Productivity through Open access of Remotely sensed derived data, aims to assist partner countries in developing their capacity to monitor and improve water and land productivity in agriculture, both rainfedand irrigated, responding therefore to the challenges that are posed by the dwindling of freshwater resources and the need to sustain agricultural production to ensure food security in the face of a changing climate.
In Iraq, FAO and the Ministry of Water Resources will be monitoring water productivity with data derived from open-access remote-sensing data and open source algorithms in the area of West Al-Gharraf irrigation project scheme in Wasit and Thi-Qar Governorates and in the Kurdistan Region for rainfedand irrigated areas. Trainings of relevant stakeholders to enable the WaPOR database's use for practical field applications are also being held.
The Director General of the of Planning and Follow-up Office in the Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Zaid Hamoudi says:
"We are pleased that Iraq is involved in this project to monitor the land and water productivity in agriculture using remote sensing techniques. This intends to respond to the challenges posed by dwindling water resources and the need to sustain agricultural production to ensure food security in the face of climate change.
"We call for further cooperation to enhance coordination between FAO and other stakeholders to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ensure the effective integration of water and food security into sustainable development strategies."
FAO Iraq Representative Dr. Salah El-Hajj Hassan emphasizes:
"This partnership between the Ministry of Water Resources and FAO Iraq will ensure that tangible solutions are being assessed and implemented by using innovative techniques to tackle the serious challenges faced by Iraq such as the excruciatingly increase of temperature, lack of rainfall and the country's life-threatening water crisis.
"It will support the country in monitoring water productivity, identifying water productivity gaps while suggesting solutions to reduce these issues and contributing to a sustainable increase of agricultural production. This will lessen water stress while taking into account ecosystems and the equitable use of water resources."
Following the signing ceremony, FAO Iraq Representative Dr. Salah El-Hajj Hassan met with his Excellency Minister of Water Resources Dr. Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani to discuss the current water crisis in Iraq and ways forward to address effectively these challenges.
The discussion focused on the strategic approach needed in response to water scarcity prioritizing affected areas notably the Marshes in the south.