Iraq Digging Artesian Wells to Counter Drought
Drought-hit Iraq is digging hundreds of artesian wells to draw water for irrigation, an Iraqi official said Tuesday.
The Public Wells Company "has already dug more than 1,800 wells in various provinces during the past three years," company head Mohammad Dhari al-Shebli told the weekly Alif Ba.
The company is now in the process of digging 1,500 artesian wells, notably in the northern province of Tamim, Shebli said.
On top of economic sanctions in force since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq has been hit by drought for the past four years, leading to a 45-percent drop in the level of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in 1999, affecting crops and livestock.
Irrigation Minister Rassul Abdul Hussein Sawadi, quoted by Tuesday's daily al-Jumhuriya, said that Iraq suffered a shortage of four billion cubic meters (144 billion cubic feet) of water this year.
Both Iraq and Syria contend that Turkey's dam projects on the Euphrates are reducing the cross-border flow of water, while Ankara insists the projects have helped to regulate the flow.
In 1993, Turkey pulled out of trilateral talks aimed at sealing a deal on sharing the waters of the Euphrates, which rises in Turkey before passing through Syria and then Iraq.
But Syrian Irrigation Minister Taha Atrasheh said last month that Turkey had in 2000 and 2001 respected a preliminary agreement struck in 1987 allowing for around 500 cubic meters (18,000 cubic feet) per second to flow into Syria from the Euphrates – Baghdad (AFP)
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