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Iran Announces Cutting off Iraq's Water Supply

Iran Announces Cutting off Iraq's Water Supply

Thursday, 11 October, 2018 - 13:15
water storage project in Basra, where residents are suffering from water shortages and rising salinity. (Reuters)
Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat

Head of Supreme Commission of Agricultural Societies in Iraq Haider al-Abadi denied the access of large quantities of water from Iran to Iraq for nearly three years now.

Abbadi said he was surprised from the circulated news about Iran cutting water supplies to Iraq, which Tehran's Deputy Ambassador to Iraq Moussa Tabatabai denied.

"Iran cannot cut that amount of border water from Iraq without an agreement with the authorities in this regard," he said on Wednesday.

The continued cut of water supplies from Iran to Iraqi territory is exacerbating the problems of some cities, mainly Basra, in which thousands of people have been poisoned in the past few weeks due to pollution of the potable water there.

Since June, salinity has increased from the Arabian Gulf to the north of the Shatt al-Arab River, the only source of water for Basra.

Shatt al-Arab consists of the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers north of Basra.

"An approximate seven billion cubic meters will be cut towards the western and northern borders of Iraq on the order of the Supreme Leader,” said Assistant to Iran's Agriculture Minister Ali Murad Akbari.

He added that eight billion dollars will be allocated to the ministries of energy and agriculture to control the water movement.

He stressed that these quantities of water will be used in three major projects on an area of 550 thousand hectares in Khuzestan (southwest of the country), and 220 thousand hectares in Khuzestan also, and Ilam (West of the country).

He pointed to the impact of these projects on increasing the sustainability of agricultural production in the country, explaining that “the scarcity of water is one of the serious threats we have been facing and we are trying to solve and control it.”

The Kurdistan Regional Government said earlier that Iran “completely changed the course of the Karun River and set up three large dams on the river Karkh,” and that “these rivers are the main sources of water of the region and Iraq as a whole.”

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