Iraq begins importing water from neighbors to offset shortages

Iraqi security personnel stand guard during the inaugration of a water treatment plant on the outskirts of Qaraqosh, Iraq, May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Baghdad ( Iraq is heading towards importing water from regional countries to make up for falling water supplies, especially at its southern regions, the transport ministry declared on Wednesday.

A statement by the ministry said that as, per directives by the prime minister, tanker vehicles from the ministry will head to Basra province to secure fresh water and distribute it for free at residential areas, and will be followed by tanker ships which will load water supplies from regional ports.

Ministry-run firms will provide fixed fresh water tanks periodically to residential areas, according to the statement.

Iraq has detected a drop in water levels at the Tigris River in Baghdad and Mosul, which aroused fears of drought resulting from the Turkish project.

In February, Iraq urged neighboring countries to release its share of water from Euphrates and Tigris rivers, warning that it may be facing a “water scarcity” crisis.

Government-owned Al-Sabaah quoted Hamid al-Nayef, spokesperson of the agriculture ministry, saying that Iraq made official requests to Turkey and Syria to release its share of Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which had witnessed a great decline”. He added that the requests were made after “those countries failed to commit to agreements and mechanisms determining each country’s share for many reasons, including the construction of dams”.

According to Nayef, the drop in rainfall rates contributed to the decline of water levels at the rivers. He said the government has only managed to provide water to 75 percent of lands allocated for cultivation.

“All regions of Iraq face the danger of water scarcity,” water resources minister, Hassan al-Janabi, told al-Sabaah.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had directed for combating violations of water resources at southern provinces.


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