Turkey’s Ilısu dam triggers water shortage panic in Iraq - analysis  

Turkey's controversial Ilısu dam on the Tigris river along with irregular rainfall has reduced the water level in Iraq's main rivers by at least 40 per cent in recent decades with the country holding an emergency session in parliament on Sunday amid increasing fears of major water shortages, Mina Aldroubi wrote in an article she penned for Abu Dhabi based the National newspaper.

“The ministry warned nine months ago of a shortage in water, it has called for necessary measures to be taken into place to combat this issue,” Aldroubi quoted Hassan Al Janabi, the Minister of Water Resources, as saying.

Turkey’s the Ilisu Dam sparked an international outcry as many feared its construction would result in a dramatic reduction of the water level, prompting thousands of residents to resettle, the article recalls.

Experts hold that the crisis demands a strategic response which could only be reached through good planning, effective strategies, and diplomacy.

Meanwhile, Muqtada Al Sadr, the newly elected leader of Iraq’s Sairoon bloc, has given the government a few days to begin solving the country’s water crisis.

"If our [electoral] victory is the beginning of revenge for the citizens of Iraq, then I will not allow that to happen,"Al Sadr said.

The level of water flowing into Iraq from Turkey has gone down by 50 per cent, said the head of Mosul dam Riyadh Izz Al Din.

"The shortage of water in the reservoir of the dam has been reduced by more than 3 billion cubic meters compared with its levels last year of more than 8 billion cubic meters," Mr Izz Al Din said.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provide 98 percent of Iraq's water and some activists are calling to boycott Turkish products in Iraq in order to exert pressure not just on Ankara but on Baghdad to take the necessary measures in solving the crisis, the article explains.

Throughout the recent crises in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, Turkey has increased its power to cut off crucial sources of water to the two countries and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) autonomous region.