By Dr. Bayad Jamal Ali:
With the raining season started in Kurdistan, we should think about the importance of water and how this blessing of nature is not only going wasted but also becomes a source of misery for many people as their properties get damaged.
Water is considered one of the most important natural resources in the world, especially with the impact of global warming being increasingly noticed. With the increase in population, the demand for water rises along with its role in a country’s security and its effect on economic growth.
It is crucial to realize that Kurdistan’s and Iraq’s sources of water are mainly the Tigris and Euphrates which both come from outside the country. With this weakness point, and all the troubles going on in the country, Turkey has been working to control the sources of water by building several dams to gain more influence over Kurdistan and Iraq and use this to achieve more political and economic pressure.
In a previous article the issue of food security was discussed; water is another vital point in this regard, and in the very near future we will face more problems if the government doesn’t create urgent strategic plans for security in this area. Kurdistan has been lucky so far that it hasn’t face severe drought, but if this matter is not managed properly and the risks aren’t calculated, we will definitely face this very soon.
It is sad that almost all of the water projects and dams were built during previous regimes, and the Kurdistan Regional Government has been unable to construct one strategic project in this sector. The main dams that are functioning in Kurdistan are the Dukan dam, which was built in 1959, the Darbandikhan dam built in 1961, and the Duhok dam built in 1988. There is a very important project that has been neglected, which is the Bakhma dam located in the Erbil governorate; building this dam was started in 1979 and stopped because of the Iraq-Iran war, and then work was resumed in 1988 but again stopped because of the Gulf War and never completed. It is imperative to be aware that all the essentials of this dam were finished and its completion will not require much effort, however this work has been neglected. If this dam is finished, it will be one of the biggest in the Middle East, generating between 1500-2000 megawatts which will easily cover all Kurdistan’s electricity needs, not forgetting its massive scale of water supply which will meet the region’s requirements for agricultural irrigation as well as every household’s requirements.
Utilizing water resources through strategic projects to store and maximize the water supply should be one of the top priorities; taking advantage of the rain, the water springs, and rivers through effective studies that prioritize the welfare of Kurdistan is highly necessary.
Our country is rich with this resource and it would be a pity for it all to go to waste, since in countries like Malta and Singapore it costs them more to produce a bottle of water than a bottle of beer!
Hence, this matter should be discussed widely among the Kurdish public; moreover, the Kurdistan Regional Government needs urgently to adopt strategic management, not only in the water sector, but in all sectors of government.