Spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources Khalid Shamal on Sunday accused Turkey of obstructing the flow of water resources to Iraq, resulting in the country’s water reserves dropping to 7 billion cubic metres.
Iraq faces a severe water crisis as Turkey blocks 75 percent of the water flowing to the country, resulting in a sharp drop in its water reserves.
The neighbours are both dependent on the water resources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Turkey controls the flow of water in the Tigris by the Ilısu dam located close to the border, while the capacity of Turkey’s Atatürk dam on the Euphrates approaches the river’s annual flow.
Baghdad regularly complains about the shortage of water supply caused by Turkey’s dams.
Recently, the decrease in water levels has been affecting the southern part of Iraq, making it impossible to grow agricultural products and causing people to leave the region.
The United Nations and several non-government groups have warned about the issue, highlighting the need to modernise the irrigation processes and farming methods and review the dam infrastructure in Iraq.
The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources has imposed measures to ration water for agriculture and domestic use, and but assured the public that the latest drop in water levels is temporary and that the authorities will increase levels by releasing water from Iraqi dams in northern areas within the next two days.
The situation is also affecting food security, and water scarcity has become one of the main drivers of rural-to-urban migration within Iraq.