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Iraq is waiting for a new opponent in the Tigris because of the carrot dam

 

Iraq is waiting for a new opponent in the Tigris because of the carrot dam

19.08.2022

18/08/22

The Tigris River, exclusive to Saidifnet, pictorial by Adel Fakher, Baghdad

Image Credit: Adel Fakhir/ SciDev.Net

Fears arise in Iraq from a new dam being built by Turkey on the Tigris River

Iraqis expect the Tigris share to fall below half

Turks reassure and assure that its active storage capacity is small

Written by: Adel Fakher

[Baghdad] Iraqis concerned with water affairs in Mesopotamia expressed concern over a new dam, which Turkey has begun building close to the border between the two countries, and while some chart a future bleaker than the status quo, there are those who send messages of reassurance from the Turks.

Soon, the fear of the Turkish Ilisu Dam dissipated, after activating the terms of the recent agreement between the two countries during the past year, which guarantees a fair distribution of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, until fears returned from the Jazira or Jazira dam.

The dam is located in the state of Şırnak in southeastern Turkey, 35 kilometers from the Iraqi border. It is one of the dams planned within the Turkish Southeast Anatolia Project. It is 46 meters high, 190 meters wide, and 15 meters wide, and will generate power of 240 megawatts.

Irrigation is also one of the objectives of the construction of the Gezirah Dam, in addition to the control of the backwaters of the Ilisu Dam.

Turkey plans to complete its construction within a year, and since it will be smaller than Ilisu Dam, it will be completed in a shorter time.

And the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, Hatem Hamid, had warned - during the past week - that "the Al-Jazira dam will reduce the percentage of water reaching Iraq by 56%, and that what will arrive from it will be of poor quality," stressing that despite the official Iraqi refusal to build the dam during The past ten years, and until now, Turkey is continuing to build it.

Hamid revealed to SciDev.Net that "the current water revenues from Turkey do not exceed 35% of the general average, while Ankara had earlier promised to release at least 50-70% to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers."

Ramadan Hamza, a senior expert on water strategies and policies, and a faculty member at the University of Duhok in Iraq,

Ramadan Hamza, a senior expert on water strategies and policies, and a faculty member at the University of Duhok in Iraq, believes that the Al-Jazira Dam is the most dangerous dam and has an impact on Iraq's water, environmental and agricultural future.

Hamza told SciDev.Net : “This project will be a stifling water system for Iraq, and it aims primarily to remove the Mosul Dam from service and deprive it of the waters of the Tigris River, and deprive Iraq’s agricultural lands of alluvial deposits that help maintain and renew the fertility of the soil annually, and from sedimentation Gravel and sand as construction materials.

Hamza expects that the water that will reach Iraq will be sewage water contaminated with agricultural pesticides, and thus Iraq will lose the entire water of the Tigris River, except for sewage and sewage water from the Turkish cities below the dam project.

Hamza continues: “The Al-Jazra dam will have negative repercussions on Iraq and deprive many of the population on the river column from even a supply of adequate and clean drinking water, in addition to it will become an environment for the breeding of mosquitoes and other harmful insects.”

Dursun Yıldız

In his interview with SciDev.Net, Dursun Yildiz, President of the Turkish Water Policy Academy, responds to the concerns of the Iraqi side, explaining that “the Jazra dam, which has not yet been completed, will have a storage capacity of (380) million cubic meters of water, and the active storage volume of the dam is small. very; It amounts to 88 million cubic meters,” noting that its purposes are to provide drinking water, irrigation and hydroelectric power generation.

It is worth noting that the international information network is full of information that the dam's active storage capacity is 208 million cubic meters.

Referring to the Ilisu Dam, Yildiz explains that it is located at the top of the source, and it is for energy purposes only, and a large amount of water will be released from it to produce energy. This water will flow into the dam area of ​​the island with the water collected from the sub-basins.

“The 350 megawatt power plant will have to run continuously during the year, while the water that passes through this power station will be released to the river bed,” he added.

Moreover, modern irrigation systems (drip irrigation) will be used, so the use of water for irrigation will be minimal, and there will be no major sewage or water quality problems in the area.

Yildiz says, “The claim that the dam, when completed and operational, will reduce the percentage of water coming into Iraq by 56 percent, is very exaggerated,” as a very small part (35 million cubic meters/year) of the water coming to Al-Jezra Dam will be allocated to drinking water.

And he added, "I think that the sum of this amount and the amount of water that will be allocated for irrigation with a modern irrigation system will not exceed 10% of the average annual flow at the dam site, and there will be no serious large-scale pollution."

Yildiz points out the importance of evaluating current and future projects through a cooperative approach to share the benefits of the flows of the Tigris River, and to develop cooperation between the two riparian countries.

While Hamza believes that the Iraqi government should put the file of this dam and other dams in the basins of the Tigris and Euphrates as a priority in its political and economic agenda with Turkey, and move quickly to confront the expected shortage of water imports from the Tigris River and the pollution of its waters, and demand international intervention to save the future and lives of Iraqis from humanitarian disasters that cannot be avoided. Praise her back.

Hamza says: “The start of building the Al-Jazira Dam will draw a map of Iraq without water, after the Ilisu Dam has become an imposed reality, due to the government’s reluctance to prevent Turkey from continuing these actions that contradict Iraq’s water rights.”

Iraq hopes Turkey will release appropriate quantities of water quotas during the next two months, to enhance its storage during the remaining months of this year, which has recently suffered from severe water scarcity, due to high temperatures.

 

This article was produced by the SciDev.Net Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa

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