Local officials says the Darbandikhan dam in KRI was down to 28 cubic meters of water in March, compared to a usual volume for that time of year of 400 cubic meters or more. (DW)

By Mina Aldroubi

December 7, 2021

Iraq has completed procedures to file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice against Iran’s water policy.

The construction of dams in upstream TurkeySyria and Iran has choked off some of the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates over the years.

The issue of water has been of great importance for the oil-rich nation of 40 million that is facing an economic, security and health crises, compounded by increasingly severe droughts and low rainfall.

Climate change is contributing to temperatures increases and erratic rainfall, pushing the fear of water shortages in Iraq to new levels

“The Ministry of Water Resources submitted a letter to the Foreign Ministry and has completed all technical and legal procedures for the lawsuit,” Mahdi Rashid Al Hamdani, the Minister of Water Resources, told Arabic media on Sunday.

“The decision to take matters further is now up to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iraqi government,” Mr Al Hamdani said.

Iraq has long been known as the land between the two rivers. The majority of its water supply either originates from or passes through neighbouring countries, which have limited its supplies over the years.

Last week the water ministry issued a warning that Iraq‘s Tigris and Euphrates rivers could run dry by 2040 because of declining water levels and climate change.

“The rate of decline in water imports to Iraq has begun gradually and will decrease to 30 per cent by 2035,” the Ministry of Water Resources said.

The country’s water inflows during the summer are estimated to be about 40 billion cubic metres. A decrease in supply to 30 per cent of normal levels will result in Iraq receiving 11 billion cubic metres annually, the report said.

Officials in Baghdad have accused Tehran of reducing water flows from the Tigris and Euphrates.

They also accused Iran of breaking international law and endangering Iraq’s agricultural sector and, in some cases, the populations drinking water supply.

In addition, the salinity of water has transformed thousands of hectares of agricultural land in Iraq into wasteland, which dealt a blow to the Iraqi agricultural sector.

Iraq’s agriculture sector constitutes five per cent of the gross domestic product and employs about 20 per cent of the total labour force in the country

Mr Hamdani said the ministry had signed an agreement with Turkey in relation to sharing the damages caused by water scarcity, but the water quota for Iraq was yet to be agreed upon.

The National

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.