Kurdistan Region approves emergency well-drilling plan to combat drought

Erbil Governor Omid Khoshnaw and the UAE Consul General in Erbil hold a press conference, Aug. 10, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Erbil Governor Omid Khoshnaw and the UAE Consul General in Erbil hold a press conference, Aug. 10, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Erbil Governor Omid Khoshnaw announced on Tuesday the start of a new campaign to dig underground wells in the province to remedy a current water crisis across the autonomous Kurdistan Region.

Khoshnaw said in a joint press conference held with the UAE Consul General in Erbil that the regional Council of Ministers had decided to allocate a special financial budget to combat drought in the Kurdistan Region.

"Within the framework of the national campaign to confront drought this year, we appealed to the humanitarians and the consulates of countries in the region to cooperate with us in contributing to the drilling of wells, noting that the UAE has responded through its consulate and the Emirates Red Crescent, and they have expressed their willingness to dig several wells,” he said.

Khoshnaw pointed out that the UAE Consulate will begin its first steps in digging a well in the Qushtapa area, pointing out that the well had reached concerning depths regarding the lack of water volume in which engineers had to dig 670 meters to reach the groundwater, "which in itself is a dangerous level," he added, calling on citizens to ration their water consumption.

Earlier in the week, officials announced the effect that water shortages have had on the annual state-run wheat marketing process for the current season's crop.

Read More: Drought ravages this year's wheat harvest in Kurdistan Region

Over the past weeks, newly harvested grain only partially filled silos in the autonomous federal region of Iraq, having received less than the quantity specified by the federal government in Baghdad to be sufficient to support the region's farmers and food needs of the public.

According to officials, the plan is to disburse five billion Iraqi dinars ($3.4 million) to farmers and other agricultural workers through banks in the region as a down payment for this year's wheat crop.

Haji Youssef Mohammed, who has been farming for 30 years, told Kurdistan 24, "The wheat harvest for this season is less than it was in previous years, and its prices are rising," adding that "the quality of wheat for this season was not the same as in previous years."

He pointed out that the primary reason for this was drought, stressing that the quality was, in general, quite poor because the rows of plants did not get enough water to flourish and produce a top-shelf product.

"The prices for wheat of the worst grade of quality for this season are much higher than those for the highest grade crops in previous years."

Editing by John J. Catherine