Water scarcity threatens Iraqi Kurdistan

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Men work to move a boat stuck on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Iraq. File photo

ARA News

Kurdish activists on Saturday warned of the increasing water scarcity in the Kurdistan region.

“We have more than 3,000 rivers, almost 1,000 are completely dried out in the Kurdistan region,” Kurdish activist Bayar Shahab said during the TEDxNishtiman conference in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

“The Alwan river, that used to flow under the old stone bridge in Khanaqin, is completely dried out,” Shahab said.

“While in Kurdistan they use 800 liters water per person, in Sweden they use 120 liters of water,” he said.

Therefore, the activist called on the Kurdish government and the public to take actions to decrease water usage.

“The government should take action and raise public awareness,” he said. “Teach the kids at school and formulate a strong water national security policy and implement smart water solutions.”

“The government also needs to formulate a water policy and minimize the waste of water,” Shahab said, adding: “Kurds should take action on a personal level. We cannot change the whole world, but we can make our own impact.”

According to a report released by the World Resources Institute (WRI), water supplies across the Middle East will deteriorate over 25 years, threatening economic growth and national security and forcing more people to move to already overcrowded cities.

“Drought and water shortages in Syria likely contributed to the unrest that stoked the country’s 2011 civil war. Dwindling water resources and chronic mismanagement forced 1.5 million people, primarily farmers and herders, to lose their livelihoods and leave their land, move to urban areas, and magnify Syria’s general destabilisation,” says the report.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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