Iraq requests Turkey to contribute to building major dam project in Iraq

    04 Jul 2021

    The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources revealed on June, 30 the results of discussions held by the ministry’s delegation during its official visit to Turkey last week, as well as discussing the possibility of Ankara’s contribution in building the Makhoul Dam project, state media reported.

    Ministry spokesman Awni Diab confirmed to state media that there is a willingness on the Turkish side to provide Iraq with assistance in building dams.

    “An agreement was reached regarding cooperation in the field of research, the establishment of a joint institute, as well as Turkey’s willingness to cooperate in various agricultural projects, and the possibility of financing them through a Turkish loan,” Diab said.

    Diab said that the Iraqi delegation suggested that the projects be set up in southern Iraq, due to the high demand for water resources there, adding that there will be a visit from the Turkish side to Iraq to observe the vital water and irrigation projects, such as the Mosul Dam and collaborating in building the Makhoul Dam project located in northern Salahaddin Governorate.

    The Makhoul Dam is among the most important strategic projects on the Tigris River to be implemented, with a storage capacity of about 3.3 billion cubic meters of water.

    Iraq is one of the most vulnerable nations to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity, according to the UN, yet it is lagging behind its neighbors when it comes to a plan to protect its water resources.

    Tehran is building a network of dams and canals, while Ankara has constructed a mega-dam on the Tigris River. Earlier in March, officials have warned that dams built by Turkey and Iran have contributed to a growing water crisis in southern and central provinces of Iraq, as well as the Kurdistan Region.

    The United Nations’ Watercourses Convention of 1997 governs transboundary water resources, however only a few dozen states are party to the convention, under which nations are obligated to respect and equitably share their neighbors’ water resources. Syria and Iraq have signed,  while Turkey and Iran have not. In a Tuesday session, the Parliamentary Committee of Agriculture, Water and Marshes revealed that the parliament will host three ministers regarding Iraq’s water quota.

    Committee member Abdul Amir Taiban said the committee will host the ministers of foreign affairs, culture, tourism and the marshes, in addition to the minister of water resources in the upcoming days.

    “Turkey exceeded Iraq’s water quota, which caused a severe and significant crisis in southern Iraq, which led to the emigration of families from Dhi Qar as a result of water scarcity, and its impact on liquefaction, electricity stations and the agricultural season,” Taiban said for Rudaw.

    “The cultivation of rye crops were canceled in the province,” he added.

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