Friday, August 24, 2007


Regional dam building deprives Iraq of adequate water

(Gulf News) - Iraq yesterday called for a water treaty with neighbours that share the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, saying a deal was needed to avoid a crisis. The two great rivers converge in Iraq and are its main water resource. Both flow south from Turkey, the Euphrates first winding through Syria while the Tigris passes straight into northern Iraq.
"The problem is growing and we need an agreement. There is speculation that the next regional war will be about water, but more conflict does not achieve anything," Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Rasheed told Reuters in the Syrian capital. "Iraq could fall into crisis, especially if we don't have more information from our neighbours and an idea of the state of their projects and if we end up without a fair share of the water," he said.
Rasheed said the looming danger came from Turkey, which has been damming the Euphrates and is expected to add the most land under cultivation, further worsening water quality downstream. "I hope that the water issue does not fall prey to politics.
"Our river levels have plummeted and Iraq needs guarantees that projects Turkey is building won't hit us further," Rasheed said after talks with Syrian officials. Euphrates volumes through Iraq have fallen to 30 billion cubic metres a year, half the flow of a few decades ago before Syria and Turkey increased dam building, Rasheed said.

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