‘Iran diverted river courses, stopping them flowing into Iraq’: Minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iran has diverted the courses of its rivers, diverting much-needed water from Iraq, the Iraqi Minister of Water Resource Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani told a press conference on Saturday.
“What Iran is doing is against international norms and regulations,” Hamdani said in the holy city of Najaf. “We haven’t received any cooperation from the Iranian side regarding information sharing on the projects they are building on these rivers.”
Hamdani emphasized the need to sit at the table with Iran to discuss this problem and find a solution.
“What they are doing is leading to mass immigration internally in Iraq,” the minister warned.
Reduced water flows from rivers flowing into Iraq from Iran have already led to major water shortages in central and southern Iraqi cities.
Turkey has also been building many dams and agriculture projects on the sources of Iraq’s two main rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. Turkey has also not been responsive to the Iraqi officials’ calls to increase water flow into Iraq.
“Iraq is the most affected country by climate change,” said the Iraqi Minister of Environment Jasim Falahi on Sunday. “We have a dry and hot summer ahead this year with temperatures rising over 50 degrees Celsius.”
According to a study carried out by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment in partnership with international experts, Iraq will face additional drought, desertification, and floods in the next decade.
The number of dust storms the country experiences will also drastically increase in the next 20 years, the Director-General at the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment, Essa Raheem Dakheel Al-Fayadh, stated in early April.
“There will be dust storms around 243 days per year,” Al-Fayadh told the Iraqi News Agency. “And in 2050, Iraq will have 300 days of dust storms throughout the year.”
Al-Fayadh clarified that the increase in the number of these storms is due to the decrease in Iraq’s water resources. He warned that desertification threatens 70 percent of Iraq’s agricultural lands.