The scientific conference on “Water Crisis and Future Challenges in Iraq” was held in Istanbul.
HPA News- The reality of water scarcity in Iraq and the challenges of the future were discussed in a conference held in Istanbul. Water Policy Association and Head of the Hydropolitics Academy Dursun Yıldız was the only foreigner guest invited to the Conference
Scores of Iraqi elites and competencies met in the Turkish city of Istanbul in 16-17 August on their founding conference of the (Iraqi Forum of Intellectuals and Academics) as the first independent professional organization of Iraqi technocrats with various academic disciplines and professional specialties.
During the first day and second day sessions of the conference, abot 40 Iraqi expert along with academics, diplomats, former Ministers and professionals discuss on the water scarcity issues in Iraq .
The Scientific Conference organized by the Agriculture and Irrigation Committee of the Iraqi Intellectuals and Academician Forum, took two days . The main theme of the conference was “Water Scarcity in Iraq: Reality and Future Challenges ”
Former Iraqi ambassadors , the managers of Iraqi’s Engineering Consulting firms, the lawyers, the previous Agriculture and Irrigation Ministers of Iraq, the Iraqi representatives of international organizations dealing with water and irrigation in Iraq, Iraqi’s academicians, former diplomats,water and energy experts were participated to the conference
The main topic of the conference was “Water Scarcity in Iraq : Reality and Future Challenges” In the conference several papers were presented under the following indicated headings:
A- Water Resources Management
- Present Irrigation Efficiencies; diagnosis of areas of waste with suggested improvements. (Ali Hussein Hachim)
- Strategic Plans for realizing the National Water Security: Present conditions of existing irrigation control and distribution structures. (Mukhalad Abdullah)ي
- Ground Water Resources: Its distribution in Iraq and ways of exploitation and development (Sabbar Al Kaisy)
- Water harvesting of Iraq’s eastern wadis. Hydrological Studies using SWAT model (Fouad Hussein Said)
B-Water Quality and its impacts on water uses
- Water Quality with respect to Iraq’s water resources; Uses for Agriculture and Human applications (Nadhir Al Ansari)
- Future prospects of water desalinization and possibilities of using Al Tharthar Reservoir water to combat Water Scarcity in Baghdad. (Malik Al Ajeli)
C- Studies on the Future of Iraq’s water resources
- Iraq’s water crisis at the present and the threats of the future; role of the storage schemes in neighboring countries (Ismail Al Janabi)
- Global climate change with special reference to Iraq (Nasrat Adamo)
- A new strategic planning approach to resolve a potential conflict over great Zab shared river basin applying graph model (GMCR) (Ramadan Harza Mohammed)
D- Agriculture and Water Scarcity
Water scarcity, present and future and its effects on Agriculture production
During the conference,Iraq’s water and land resources potential, water management in Iraq,the effectiviniess of Iraq’s water conservation projects, Dams storage effects built or planned stage in neighboring countries, the climate change effects on water and land resources and it’s consequences were discussed.
During the conference, academicians presented several scientific articles on water quality, surface and groundwater distribution in Iraq, strategic plans to ensure national water security, efficiency of existing storage and irrigation projects, and ways to improve them. Trans boundary waters were also discussed in the context of the 1994 UN Convention on the Law and the Helsinki Rules.
In the conference, it was also mentioned that because of the decreasing amount of water coming from Turkey and Iran, water level has been drooped close to the intake level in the Baghdad’s drinking water storage pool,that threats the drinking water supply to the city. Drought periods and decreased streamflow from Euphrates and Tigris has also affected the agricultural sector plays important role for employment and increased the internal immigration from rural to urban.
Prof. Dr. Nadhir Al- Ansari
A presentation on the status of water and soil resources in the Dicle and the Euphrates Basin, the location of the dams, topographical, geological structure and common projects that can be created through this data were presented using the GIS data.
Hameed Mahdi Salman
Natural Resources Consulting Bureau-NRCB
In the conference ,Turkey and Iraq joint water and land development project and investment was proposed by an Engineering & Consultancy Bureau. In this presentation, it was emphsized that “The geographical, topographic and climatic nature of the water resources in Turkey and the neighboring Iraqi territories, give preference and priority to other areas adjacent to joint investment.”
Prof. Dr. Nadhir Al- Ansari
A well known Iraqi Professor working on water resources management at Lule University in Sweden. Dr. Nadhir Al-Ansari presented three article based on scientific work on the potential of water resources in Iraq, water resources management, pollution of water resources, effects of climate change, hydrology of Tigris and Euphrates, declining annual flows, increasing risks.
The only foreigner expert invited to the conference was Dursun Yildiz , Head of Hydropolitics Academy .He participated to the conference for 2 days and made some contrubutions to the presentations and a short speech on “ A New Hydro Diplomacy in the Middle East”
Dursun Yıldız speaks to BBC TV (August 16, 2018).
Just before starting the conference,Dursun Yildiz replied some questions of the BBC Persian TV reporter about Turkish water management policy of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers .
On the second day of the conference, Dursun Yıldız has been invited to make a 15-minute speech . The speech was broadcasted live on Al Jazeera TV channel. Speaking about the changing security paradigms of the cold war era in the world, Yıldız said that climate change is now a national security problem that couldnt be solved by an individual country . He said that this requires a new hydro diplomacy vision of a more realistic, mutually beneficial interest in Transboundary Water Management.
He stated that a new long drought period in the region can make upside down all the security and economic balances that has been on a very critical stage since long time ago. Turkey and Iraq can collaborate to solve the water problems by changing the paradigm from only river water sharing approach to high level economical integration in different sectors. He also indicated that both countries have sufficient natural resources that could facilitate this cooperation.
In his speech, on water issues in the Middle East, he stated that results obtained from the past experiences showed that through negotiations over the sharing of water hasn’t been succesfull . An “Innovative ,More Realistic and Visioner Water Diplomacy “ is required” Climatologially and Politically different New Middle East will require a new water equation and applicable solution for this equation with new water diplomacy paradigm . Any step towards the development of interdependence principle, in order to increase the relations of the countries with each other, will positively affect inter-country hydropolitics. Without mutual trust and mutual benefits between riparian states no sustainable and effective water agreement can be accomplished.
In the Tigris and Euphrates Basin , developing the mutually beneficial interrelations certainly play the most fundamental role in the solution of the older hydropolitical problems .The only solution is the development of water management cooperation based on mutually benefical approach that can be called “Real Hydropolitics”. Or more realistic hydropolitics
“32 years ago, a visioner water peace process has been started by Turkey with proposing “three stage plan” for Euphrates and Tigris River basin.Let alone implementation of this proposed plan , riparian state hasn’t even made an agreement to measure reliable flow data collectively that would be accepted by each country in the Tigris and the Euphrates River Basin.
Dursun Yildiz stated that the lost of the mutual trust between the countries in the Middle East has played an important role for unintegrated project development in the region, however, the climate change does not wait for the confidence building process and he emphasized that the region should now focus on search for what it could be the muttualy beneficial projects which will shift the negotiations from only focusing to river water sharing to high level economic cooperation.
He also emphasized that decisions made today will have a significant impact for future generations. The future depends on what you do today” , We will be responsible about decisions made today that will directly concerns the lives of future generations.
Dursun Yildiz added that “Implementing this collaboration in the region is not only responsibilities of some upstram countries. It is all riparian countries’ responsibilities. Scientists, Journalist, NGO’s ,academicians,engineers should be aware of their own responsibilities to shape a brighter water future on the base of a transdisciplinary approach to transboundary water management.
Dursun Yildiz with Former Iraqi Ministers of Agriculture and Irrigation (17 August 2018/ Istanbul)