2020-05-13 12:30:57

Shafaq News / A strategic water policy expert in Dohuk Governorate in Kurdistan Region, proposed on Wednesday the establishment of sub-dams on Tigris River to reduce the amount of damage caused by the start of Turkey's water storage process in giant “Ilısu " dam.

“Turkey’s announcement to start storing water in Ilısu Dam will have catastrophic effects on Mosul Dam, noting that the percentage of water storage in Mosul Dam is about 7 billion cubic meters, but when Turkey start storing the water of Tigris River, it will drop to less than half, The expert on water strategies and policies in Dohuk province, Ramadan Hamza told Shafaq News Agency.

Hamza said that Mosul Dam will lose its water storage strategy, which the central and southern provinces of Iraq depend on for agriculture and drinking purposes, noting that the average percentage of running water in Tigris River is 360 cubic per second, and it will be reduced to 60 cubic per second if the Turkish Ilısu Dam is operational.

Regarding the problems that will be faced by Kurdistan, Hamza mentioned that Duhok will be "the first affected", as the drinking water for the province depends heavily on Tigris River, adding that the province will depend on Khabour River only, which is one of the branches of Tigris River.

The strategic expert suggested that Iraq work to build dams on the branches of Tigris River, and demand Ankara to launch water quotas in accordance with international treaties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced, after a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, that Turkey will start operating the first turbines in Ilısu Dam in southeastern Turkey next week, and said in a speech, "We will start operating one of 6 turbines for Ilısu Dam, one of the largest irrigation and energy project in our country, on May 19. "

The dam, which was approved by the Turkish government in 1997 to generate electricity for the region, caused the displacement of about 80,000 people from 199 villages, and raised concerns in neighboring Iraq that feared its impact on water supplies from Tigris River.

 After years of delays, Turkey began filling the dam reservoir in July, at a time when activists leading a campaign against the project called for the reservoir to be emptied for environmental and cultural concerns.

Turkey has built the Ilısu Dam on the Tigris River that originates from the Taurus Mountains, southeast of Anatolia in Turkey, and has a length of about 1718 km, 1,400 km of which is inside Iraq.

The dam will generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity, making it the fourth largest dam in Turkey in terms of production capacity.

Since 2017, water shortages in Iraq have led to measures such as banning the cultivation of rice and pushing farmers to abandon their lands. Basra witnessed months of protests over the lack of safe drinking water.

Along with the Euphrates, the Tigris is a lifeline for many Iraqis, as the rivers feed many water stations, and their water is used to irrigate the crops along their banks.

Iraq has been suffering, for years, from the low water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, due to the lack of rain in the winter.