Erbil governor announces significant progress toward ending drinking water crisis

Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw speaks to reporters in Erbil, Aug. 12, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw speaks to reporters in Erbil, Aug. 12, 2021. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw announced on Thursday that a drinking water shortage in the autonomous Kurdistan Region's capital province is being managed and likely nearing its end.

He laid primary blame for the most recent lack of potable water on floods that have swept through Turkey, the autonomous Kurdistan Region's northern neighbor on which it relies for a large percentage of its water supply, as well as a current drought affecting all of Iraq.

"We have almost finished with the problem of water shortages in Erbil," he told reporters at a press conference. "Today, we had a meeting on the drought issue and water pumps have been secured for 523 wells to address the shortage." 

"Unfortunately, what happened in the past few days is the increase in the level of Zab (River) water, and it was muddy water due to the floods that occurred in Turkey," he explained, referring to the formation of a committee "headed by the deputy governor and its main objective is to search for defects in water supply and well projects and to fix them."

"Tomorrow, Friday, will witness the launch of a campaign to remove any and all causes of wasted water supply that will take legal measures against those who have drilled illegal wells or unlicensed carwashes."

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.

Read More: Kurdistan Region approves emergency well-drilling plan to combat drought

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 across the Kurdistan Region, with agriculture officials 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.

"We decided to form teams to deliver water by tankers starting tomorrow," Governor Khoshnaw concluded at Thursday's press conference, "and the areas that will not be reached must contact the competent teams who will bring water to them."

Editing by John J. Catherine