Jun 04, 2018

Iranian Kurdistan: Water Crisis in Qaladze

On Sunday, 3 June 2018, water flowing from the Little Zab river to Kurdistan—a major source of water for the region—was restricted by the Iranian Government. The region’s mayor, Mr Bakir Baiz, indicated that last year’s efforts were not enough in order to stop the reoccurrence of water shortages for the second year in a row. Given the threat of climate change, in conjunction with dams in Iran and Turkey, more must be done in order to solve the worsening of the water crisis in Kurdistan and Iraq.

The article below was published by RUDAW:

The Kurdistan Region town of Qaladze is facing a water crisis after Iran restricted the flow of the cross-border Little Zab river, the town’s mayor told Rudaw. 

"Today the Iranian government restricted the water flow of the Little Zab and as a result the main source of drinking water for Qaladze's residents has been cut off," said Mayor Bakir Baiz.

The primary sources of water in the Kurdistan Region are five main rivers that provide 75 percent of water for household and commercial use, drinking, and agriculture. Two of these, the Sirwan and the Little Zab, flow into the Region from Iran.

Iran has constructed a dam on the Little Zab in Sardasht and last summer it completely cut the flow of the river for a time, causing KRG officials to restrict the flow of water into Iraq. 

Baiz believes that dialogue with Iran will not resolve the problem. 

"Last year, when this happened, we made lots of efforts to not have this problem again. Now it happened again. Iran will not change its water strategy because of us. The Kurdistan Regional Government has to find a solution for this problem,” he said. 

Qaladze is dependent on the river for its water source.

Kurdistan and Iraq will need to prioritize water management as the resource is under increasing threat from dams in Iran and Turkey and climate change. 

Iraq’s water minister last weekend warned of an impending water crisis with levels at the Mosul dam at a 10-year low.

Video shared on social media showed people walking across the Tigris River in Baghdad – the water barely deeper than knee-level. 

KRG officials have said the Region has ample water resources – with lakes, rivers, and groundwater – but admit they have a management problem and water is not adequately stored, conserved, or protected from pollution. 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia