Iraq is renewing efforts to reach deals with Syria and Turkey to increase water levels on the River Euphrates which flows from these two countries into Iraq, and on which Iraq is heavily dependent for agriculture and electricity generation.
Turkey has tentatively agreed to increase water levels on the river to allow Iraq to reactivate the 400-megawatt Haditha hydroelectric power station, officials say.
The deal - set to be concluded in two months’ time - could be part of a wider agreement with Turkey to import 200 megawatts of electricity, said a spokesman of the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, Musaab Al-Mudaris.
An Iraqi delegation is heading to Syria later this week to try to strike a similar deal. In recent years water levels have steadily fallen on the Euphrates due to below-average rainfall and the construction of dams in Turkey and Syria.
Iraq produces about 7,500 megawatts a day - less than half of current demand - and low water levels on the Euphrates (and the Tigris) have forced some hydroelectricity plants to reduce output or close.
For many years Iraqi officials have been pressing Syria and Turkey to sign agreements specifying a fixed share of the water from these two rivers for Iraq, but no deal has been reached.
“Iraq could experience more (water-related) problems, complexities and challenges unless it gets its fair share of water… Iraq faces great challenges in maintaining its wetlands and agricultural land,” said Ali Al-Alak, the Cabinet general secretary.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.
Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.
We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.
Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian.