[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The Ministry of Water Resources in Iraq revealed its plans to contain the drought crisis and take advantage of the rainwater and torrents expected to fall during the current winter season, represented by water collection operations, as well as the construction of 36 dams within the ministry’s three-year plan.
Ministry spokesman Khaled Shamal said that the process of collecting water is one of the priorities of his ministry’s work for this season, and this procedure is being dealt with according to weather forecasts by weather forecasts to be dealt with scientifically and technically.
Shamal added that the water collection process is based on collecting rainwater and confining it towards rivers and storage lakes to relieve pressure on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in addition to constructing earth dams that store water to benefit from it for the longest possible period.
He stated that the Ministry established a number of earthen dams and took care of the paths of torrents resulting from rainwater, according to the geographical nature of the areas that witness rainfall, and the conditions there allow for collection operations.
Shamal revealed that his ministry has prepared a plan for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025 to implement 36 dams in various Iraqi governorates in cooperation with the General Authority for Dams and a number of international consulting companies. He pointed out that the function of these dams is to collect the largest possible amount of rainwater and invest it to enhance storage, secure agricultural irrigation, and stop pressure on ground and surface water.
The most important obstacles
In the context of the conversation, the spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources confirmed that there are many financial and security difficulties and obstacles facing his ministry’s work in water collection operations.
Khaled Shamal explained that there are financial problems related to weak financial allocations that hinder the ministry’s work in remote areas, especially since the majority of collection operations take place in remote and desert areas.
He added that some areas that witnessed military operations still pose a security threat, and are difficult to reach because they are not fully secured, which prompts the Ministry not to send the necessary personnel, machinery, and equipment to those areas.
For his part, geological researcher Amjad Nazem said that there are natural factors that hinder the full benefit from the collection water, which is represented by the geographical nature of the areas and the muddy sediments flowing with water flow.
Nazim explained that natural factors greatly affect the flow of water through the valleys, and cause the transfer of clay materials, gravel, and plant residues, which obstructs the smooth flow of water towards the dams that store the collected water.
He added that these factors contribute to reducing the volume of storage in some dams, especially those located in the eastern side of the country, stressing the importance of addressing this problem by creating barriers that reduce muddy sediments to prevent their leakage into the dams.
Nazim explained that most of the earthen dams built by the Ministry of Water Resources for collection are weak dams, and are quickly exposed to demolition and erosion due to the sharp slope of the water streams on the one hand, or by high wind currents.
He stressed the importance of adopting modern methods of agricultural irrigation and activating the mobilization and media aspects to reduce waste, for the sustainability of agriculture and the provision of appropriate quantities of water with the population increase that Iraq is witnessing.
Good agricultural season
The drought crisis that Iraq has been exposed to during the past years has cast a shadow over the agricultural reality and livestock production, and has harmed the livelihoods of farmers, in addition to major material losses to the Iraqi national economy.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Muhammad Al-Khuzaie said that producers and farmers are paying the price of drought and the reduction of agricultural areas in Iraq, which prompted them to search for new means of living other than agriculture.
Al-Khuzaie revealed, during his talk to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that the current agricultural season calls for optimism due to the rain irrigations that fell in all governorates of Iraq, and the first irrigation included all Iraqi governorates with similar amounts of rain.
He added that his ministry is working in accordance with climate indicators to achieve a production rate of 6 million tons of wheat during this season, to move beyond the stage of self-sufficiency to the export stage, adding that his ministry has directed the cultivation of 8.5 million dunams during the agricultural plan for the current season.
Al-Khuzaie pointed out that the lack of rain in past seasons, the decrease in the rate of water releases from neighboring countries, as well as climate change, are factors that led to the expansion of desert areas, which prompted the Ministry of Agriculture to reduce agricultural plans. He pointed out that many climate reports and studies confirm that Iraq will overcome the state of drought, because the current season is a rainy season, stressing that his ministry has developed the necessary plans to invest rainwater and raise agricultural production levels.
Water specialists have warned of a water impasse, with the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources potentially risking expanding the agricultural plan for this season, because Iraq is still not qualified for this in light of the lack of appropriate strategic storage.
Water expert Tahseen Al-Musawi said that Iraq's rain did not exceed 100 mm, which calls for the necessity of working to collect and store rainwater and push it towards dams and lakes and benefit from it.
Al-Moussawi stressed the necessity of moving towards the process of collecting rainwater, which begins with small dams and not large ones, stressing that “so far there is talk about plans and programs for work on collecting water, but they have not reached the stage of actual implementation.”
He said, “Building dams depends on geography, and the minimum dam needs a depth of 10 meters, and this is not available in the central and southern regions, in addition to the importance of regulating the water flow between the governorates, such as the Hindiyah Dam and the Kut Dam. As for the Shatt al-Arab, there is talk of constructing a mobile gate and not a dam.” Because the dam impedes navigation, what is required is to block the salt tongue and conserve water during low levels.
He pointed out that the current rains are a good sign for natural pastures and the agricultural plan, but a big mistake would occur if the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources risked expanding the agricultural plan at this stage. If there is no wet year, the country will be in trouble, and even if the year is wet, the country It is not eligible to expand agricultural plans due to the lack of strategic storage.
According to the expert in the field of water, Iraq needs to compensate for the groundwater that was lost, noting that “the groundwater reserve does not exceed 5 billion cubic meters, and much of it was depleted during drought seasons, and the problem with groundwater is not the reserve, but rather the non-renewable water.” He stressed the importance of preserving renewable water by not expanding agricultural irrigation through wells, which will cost a lot, especially since the country uses primitive methods.
Source: Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed website
Views 12Added 12/04/2023 - 1:05 PM[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]