| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Iraq urges global action to address Tigris, Euphrates drought

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani is calling for swift international action to address declining water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Sudani blamed the water crisis on the previous regime, which has led to strained relationships with neighboring countries.

In a speech during the third Baghdad International Water Conference, Sudani said the issue of water security has become a sensitive and important topic for countries worldwide.

The prime minister noted that the “water crisis began in the 1980s, but citizens were not exposed to it due to the hostility of the ousted regime.”

He stated that his administration has placed the issue of water scarcity at the forefront of its priorities.

He acknowledged that the crisis has been inherited from the previous regime, with administrative shortcomings exacerbating the issue.

However, his government has taken steps to implement policies to address the crisis and acknowledge the importance of working collaboratively with upstream countries.

Sudani identified the introduction of modern irrigation methods as a key solution to address the crisis. He emphasized the need to regulate the winter agricultural plan and limit future agricultural plans to farmers who utilize modern irrigation techniques.

The premier highlighted the current government’s efforts to leverage the expertise of advanced countries in addressing the crisis.

The government is committed to exploring innovative solutions, such as seawater desalination. The formation of a high council for water is also a significant step towards effective management of this critical resource.

However, Sudani warned that water scarcity poses a significant threat to Iraq’s cultural heritage and must be addressed urgently.

He underlined the need to prioritize efforts to mitigate or eliminate environmental risks, in order to provide future generations with a sustainable environment.

Productive and constructive dialogue with neighboring countries has been central to addressing the water crisis and ensuring a fair distribution of resources, added Sudani.

Water Resources Minister Aoun Diab highlighted the need to strengthen international relations in order to develop cooperation and solutions for the water crisis.

He emphasized that water is a vital resource for life and is currently at risk.

Diab stressed the significance of diligent work and proper planning as potential solutions to the crisis, noting that the Iraqi government has prioritized efforts to combat climate change and its impact on water resources.

He reiterated the need to strengthen international relations to develop cooperation and create a large platform for finding solutions to the crisis.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat