Iraq – Iranian dams on the tributaries of Tigris threaten water reserves in Iraq


Location: Baghdad – Iraq
Language: Arabic
Duration: 00:05:33
Sound: natural
Source: A24 in Baghdad
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
Date: 11/09/ 2022


The water level of Tigris River continues to decline due to climate change and construction of dams on its tributaries by neighboring countries of Iraq.

The water level of Tigris River has decreased significantly, which has affected agricultural activity and led to the displacement of people from the countryside to the cities.

Director-General of the National Center for Water Resources Management, Hatem Hamid, told A24 that the construction of Iranian dams on the tributaries of rivers shared between the two countries led to a decrease in water reserves in Iraq.

He said that the Ministry of Water Resources demanded concerned authorities in Iran to hold meetings on the sharing of water resources and solving related problems, but Iran has been stalling in its response.

He added that Iraqi government will continue dialogue with neighboring countries, Iran and Turkey, to hold bilateral talks to reach a permanent agreement on water quotas that guarantee Iraq’s water rights.

According to recent International Organization for Migration reports, more than 3,300 families have been displaced to urban areas due to climatic conditions in a number of central and southern governorates of Iraq.


  • Soundbite (Haider Al-Asad – President of The General Union of Peasant Associations):
    “The current situation and agricultural plan does not meet the needs of farmers. We hope the government will provide support by supplying modern irrigation machines, because they reduce amounts of wasted water and allow for larger areas for agriculture. Lands near the rivers are now directly targeted. Lands far from the river are a real problem for farmers, who began to migrate from their lands towards the city, but they cannot compete with city people to secure their livelihood.”
  • Soundbite (Alwan Ayed – Affected by the water shortage, farmer from Wasit governorate):
    “Iran and Turkey have blocked the water, and farmers are now unable to farm their lands. Farm work and livestock declined, the number of farmers declined by 60 percent in different governorates of Iraq. The state is responsible for the water scarcity.”
  • Soundbite (Hamed Al-Saedi – Affected by the water shortage, farmer from Basra governorate):
    “Basra governorate is among the most affected, because of the high salt level that resulted from the lack of water. Basra used to receive 70,000 cubic meters of water, now it only receives less than 50 cubic meters and this leads to an increase in salts, which directly affects agriculture in Basra. This year, all farms were affected by the water shortage. The opening of Karun River parallel to Shatt Al-Arab River has led to water pollution and destruction of agriculture in the entire Basra governorate.”
  • Soundbite (Hatem Hamid – Director-General of National Center for Water Resources Management):
    “With regard to the Iranian dams built on rivers shared between Iraq and Iran, several dams were built recently, and rivers, especially Diyala River, were diverted to other areas, which has caused us major problems in the past two years. We have been struggling with water shortage for the past three years, which has led to a decrease in water reserves. Neighboring Iran should have led a hand to help Iraq deal with this situation, especially Diyala, Maysan, and Hawr al-Hawizeh governorates, that were greatly affected by the water shortage.”

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