Oct 10 2018

Turkey to release more water from Ilısu dam to ease Iraqi crisis

Turkey has agreed to increase its water release from its its Ilisu dam in the country’s southeastern to neighbouring Iraq, which is suffering from a water crisis, Egyptian Ahram online news site reported the speaker of the Iraqi parliament as saying on Wednesday.

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, sounding an alarm for Baghdad.

The Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq Mohammed al-Halbousi noted that "in order to guarantee water reaches all of Iraq's provinces, especially Basra which has been hit badly by the water shortages,’’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had agreed to an Iraqi request for more supplies.

Around 70 percent of Iraq's water supplies flow from neighbouring countries, especially in the Tigris and Euphrates which run through Turkey, the site stressed, noting that the country’s water shortages have led it to take measures such as bans on rice planting, and driven farmers to leave their land.

Iraq has seen months of street protests in the province of Basra over the lack of clean drinking water, it reported.