The water crisis in the country has pushed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi central government to unite on the issue. Both entities are cooperating in an effort to find a scientific solution to the problem. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) director in Iraq, Louise Haxthausen stated that, “This project in a way shows how scientific cooperation projects can actually bridge above political divides and bring people together around a topic of common concern and common commitment.” UNESCO has been working towards completing an advanced survey of hydro-geological resources in Iraq recently. Their latest report centered around climate, geology, topography, hydrology, and geomorphology.
Haxthausen went on to say that,
We are focusing mainly on the human dimensions of development with many activities in the field of education, in the field of culture, also in the promotion of scientific knowledge which for us is a critical dimension of this human development here in Iraq. How we can help the Iraqi government, in particular the water ministries for water resources in Baghdad and Erbil, to improve their capacity to manage in a sustainable manner and an equitable manner these water resources.”
Scientists from Kurdistan and Iraq have been working together towards a solution since 2013, the initiative has been backed by the European Union heavily as well. The head of the European Union’s Iraq delegation, Ramon Blecau, said, “This is one of the projects in a larger cooperation envelope. The wealth of data has been impressive.” Satellite imagery alone has produced quantifiable data that supports the claims of seriously diminishing water levels, a level of observation and analysis not possible without the E.U.’s support.
Hydrogeology expert and Iraqi prime ministry adviser Sadeq B. Jawad elaborated on the element of cooperation relative to the effort. He said that, “Neighboring countries, of course, they are carrying out plans for expanding the use of water resources in their plans for agriculture and for the electricity production. And for this reason, less water is coming into Iraq,” explaining the importance of water flow from Iraq’s northern neighbors. He added that, “Water which is produced inside of Iraq does not represent more than 20% of the resources.”
Featured image: The Greater Zab River near Erbil, Iraq | By jamesdale10 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons