Iraq needs 30-plus new dams, says water minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In order for Iraq to be able to secure reliable water sources for its growing population as the country battles the adverse effects of climate change, including drought and desertification, more than 30 new dams should be built for that purpose, the country's water minister, Ouni Dhiab, said on Friday.
The 36 new dams proposed for construction are small water-collecting reservoirs that the country needs amid water shortages in most parts of Iraq, which has led to the displacement of rural populations and an increase in the water's salinity.
In a bid to thwart devastating floods that Iraq has previously witnessed, the new dams will also serve as a regulating mechanism for the condition, he hailed during an interview with al-Iraqiya TV, the state media.
The dam constructions do not require “large sums of money,” he added, without elaborating on the cost estimate of the projects.
Iraq heavily relies on its twin river systems known as the Tigris and Euphrates which are sourced from Turkey, which Iraq continuously criticizes for restricting the water flow through upstream damming. Iran has similarly built dams that have reduced the flow into Iraq, according to the officials.
Reduced water flows have forced Iraqi authorities to close nearly 5,000 “unlicensed” fish farms recently in a bid to preserve the precious resource.
Iraq is ranked by the UN as the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to the adverse effects of climate change.