Tuesday, 23 September 2014

We cannot drink oil!

By Talib Murad Elam, Ph.D.
Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface and is vital for all known forms of lifeOn Earth, 96.5% of the planet's water is found in seas and oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland, a small fraction in other large water bodies, and 0.001% in the air as vaporclouds formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air , and precipitationOnly 2.5% of the Earth's water is freshwater, and 98.8% of that water is in ice and groundwater. Less than 0.3% of all freshwater is in rivers, lakes, and the atmosphere, and an even smaller amount of the Earth's freshwater (0.003%) is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products.
Overuse of freshwater resources in the Gulf and North Africa.
Last autumn the ex-Amir of Qatar addressed the Food Security Summit in Rome last autumn and one wonders if our friends in Qatar believe that they are going to lead us in solving the region’s food security and water problems. If they could it would indeed be a miracle but the best that we could hope for is that they now recognize the damaging consequences caused by the Gulf States in some cash deprived countries.
The arid lands of the Gulf cannot be used for agriculture so these states have been busy grabbing all the available agricultural land and water in poor countries, mainly in Africa, and now they are eyeing the Kurdish region of Turkey, and while they offer to” help” the poorer countries ’‘develop their agriculture”’ they ensure that the food produced will go to feed the Gulf. In addition the populations of the Gulf States are swollen by foreigners working there and indeed there may be four to eight expatriates for every local inhabitant and these states would have less of a food security problem if they did not rely on excessive numbers of overseas workers.
Agricultural projects in the Gulf and many Arab countries have not met with great success as it is naturally difficult to raise crops in these hot, arid lands. When the Saudis embarked on producing their own wheat they relied on the country’s underground water reserves to irrigate the land. Such was the demand for water that they overused the country’s aquifers and the project failed but, when they could not grow wheat for bread, they turned to milk production and developed huge dairy farms. However the dairy cows in these farms are fed copious amounts of green fodder which naturally requires water to grow! Where does the water for this production of fodder plants come from when the aquifers have been depleted? Ironically the growing of green fodder needs much more water than growing cereals. Is the water produced by desalination plants? If so it is expensive fodder, but no doubt producing desalinated water for agriculture will be subsidized by the government.
The Gulf States started their agricultural development by relying on water from wells and there was a flurry of well digging by foreign workers in order to provide water for the farms that sprang up across the states. In addition the “farmers” of these Gulf States relied on foreign agricultural workers and I was told of many cases where the operation of pumps on well heads had been left to the whim of these workers who took little care to ensure water was not wasted. Most of these initial farming enterprises would prove to be no more than the “leisure activities” of the wealthy and no thought was given to the amount of water taken from the wells. I was in Qatar in the 1990s when the government proposed putting meters on the wells to monitor water usage and avoid waste of the precious commodity. However the proposal was met with such uproar from the land owners that it was never enforced.
At the same time the late Sheik Zaid of the United Arab Emirates, who wanted to see agricultural development in his arid country, encouraged the production of local food using underground water and foreign farm laborers. The main crop produced was tomatoes and truckloads of local tomatoes would be driven to the Abu Dhabi weighbridge where, depending on the weight of the truck’s cargo, large subsidies would be granted to the producer. Once the subsidy had been allocated the truck driver drove a short distance and dumped the load of unwanted vegetables! This was brought to notice when one of my colleagues in F.A.O. was sent to investigate a massive explosion of the fly population in Abu Dhabi only to find that the flies were thriving on the mountains of unwanted, subsidized, tomatoes, a crop that needs a lot of water to produce! The development of a canning or tomato puree plant to use this tomato crop would have avoided the fly problem and given some tangible result from the whole enterprise. However no one had given thought to the entire project and the consequences were a plague of flies and the waste of the country’s meager, irreplaceable, underground water reserves. It has to be said that whoever advised the U.A.E. to embark on this expensively, subsidized project decided to meet the wishes of the state’s ruler and turn a blind eye to the obvious outcome of wasting the limited water resources.
This story from Abu Dhabi is not the only case where a food production idea, put forward by a leader, political figure or prominent business man, was jumped at with no thought to the environmental impact or consequences of the enterprise. All too often the idea is grasped by those who are all too willing to please those in power, then bilateral or UN development agencies are called in to assist in the new project, and with blinkered eyes these specialists work to bring about the desired outcome. In such cases the environmental consequences may far outweigh any benefits of the venture not to mention the use of finances that could have been used to greater benefit elsewhere.
 In Kuwait FAO financially supported a Technical Co-operation Programme, using funds that the donors regularly allocated to poorer countries. The project was based on the allocation of several thousands of small plots of land (recognized as smallholdings in Europe) to individuals for the purpose of livestock production. This was supposed to help with the country’s food security yet the majority of the animals kept by the owners of the plots of land were exotic birds and animals with very few small ruminants and camels. The result was a proliferation of what in effect were small zoological collections kept by wealthy people and little was contributed towards food production for the Kuwaiti population.
In Libya in the early 70’s, at the insistence of Gaddafi, the ill-advised, Kufra agricultural development took place in the south east of the country. In 1976 I was a member of the organization committee of the Libya’s first veterinary conference in Benghazi and I accompanied a very large group of foreign visitors who were flown from Benghazi to Kufra to see the 250,000 sheep and the irrigated fields that were producing cereals and vegetables by the use of underground water. The desert had indeed become green and it was an unbelievable sight to see from the plane as we flew over the desert that was spotted with large circles of green! However the greening of the desert was short lived and a few years later the shifting dunes of sand reclaimed the land as the quantity of the available underground water had been grossly miscalculated. What a costly mistake!
The Alsarir project was a similar enterprise to the north of Kufra where one of my colleague, worked as part of a UN team and this suffered the same fate as Kufra. Following the failure of these endeavors, Gaddafi, following the advice he was given and determinate to secure water for drinking and food production, started to talk about developing a great man-made river to bring water from the south of the country to the more populated north. This project, costing US$ 25 billion, was executed by Korean companies over several years and consisted of producing 1,300 wells to take water from a fossil aquifer and pump it, in especially constructed pipes that were several metres in diameter, northwards. The original estimation was that there was sufficient water in the aquifer to meet the needs of Libya for thousands of years now that figure has been amended to 50 to 60 years and if the Libyan population and its demand for water continues to increase at the present rate the country will have no alternative other than to turn to the desalination of sea water to meet its needs. This is an expensive alternative costing 10 times more that the man-made river – if these estimates prove to be correct! In short Libya will spend all of its oil revenues on desalinating water and importing its food. This would prove Gadaffi to have been right when he repeatedly preached to the country, “If a nation does not produce its own food it will be a slave to the others.” In the 10 years I spent in Libya I heard this almost every day on the state’s radio and television.
The situation in Kurdistan
I am concerned that here in Kurdistan we are ignoring what happened in other countries of the region while agriculture is not given any priority by the leading elite as they are bedazzled by the newly acquired oil wealth. I had only been in the country a few weeks when I was told by a leading politician, “Agriculture is not important when we have oil!”, and sadly I have heard this view many times since. Just as I have seen in many other oil producing countries the majority of agricultural land in Kurdistan is now being used for other purposes.  All too often agricultural land is now used for“leisure activities” or the construction of villas surrounded by several donums of land with barbed wire fencing and the obligatory wells, and the latter may or may not be legal.
An indication of how serious the depletion of our agricultural production (and land) is can be found on the KRG investment website which reveals how much land and money has been ‘invested’ in activities other than agriculture. Today the majority of people are ‘after a fast buck’ and both the government and most of the population are more interested in enterprises that offer a quick turnover while foreign investors are attracted to Kurdistan to provide service industries. At the same time we are faced with a surfeit of food and drink imports from the immediate neighbouring countries which are upstream from us and control the amount of water that flows into our lands. An indication of how little importance is attributed to agriculture in Kurdistan is that only one of the 16 Ministers of Agriculture appointed in the last 21 years (during separate or joint administrations) has been an agriculturist while the Director Generals were political appointees and only some of these had an agricultural background.
While the powers that be are dismissing the agricultural sector as being of little significance little attention is being paid to the continual reduction in the flow of rivers and streams entering the country or the increasing demand placed on our aquifers. The number of “authorized” wells in the KRG area at the end of 2012 stood at 18,000, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. More than half of these wells were identified as being used to supply water for industries, yet there is little evidence of industrial production. I have been informed by a reliable source that at some of these wells one can purchase a small tanker of water for 8 million ID and that this is the sole purpose of the well. In addition many of the new villas and small holdings that are springing up all over our countryside have their own well, with or without government approval. If government officials try to stop the construction of a well a telephone call from a member of the hierarchy will overturn any official decision, even at the ministerial level as most of the officials are political appointees.
 The lack of concern paid to the loss prime agricultural land becomes less significant when compared to the unconcern over the diminishing levels of water in the rivers flowing into the country. Turkey and Iran are adamant that water in the rivers that flow across their borders into Kurdistan is treated as a ‘commodity’. It seems that our governments easily make trade agreements with our two neighbours to import all sorts of goods, including food and drink, into Iraq yet, apart from raising a verbal concern over the reduction of water in our rivers and aquifers, they have failed to take the matter further. Meanwhile our neighbours are taking full advantage of the weak Iraqi state and are making tens of billions of US $ from exports to Iraq and Kurdistan. Even Syria, suffering from civil unrest for 3 years, still manages to export its products to us!
Importing goods from Syria at the present time is an indication of how unconcerned we have become as to where our food comes from. Turkey, Iran and Syria are profiting from exporting food to us so obviously we should use this to our advantage in order to prevent them continuing to deprive us of water. No doubt there are those who would query this idea stating that we are buying the food that has been produced with the water we no longer receive but we are not only being denied water that could be used in agriculture but very soon we will not have enough for us all to drink!  

NASA's warning about the Euphrates-Tigris River Basin.

 In a paper published in the Journal of Water Resources Research (February 2013) researchers from NASA and others published their findings on the water situation in the Tigris-Euphrates River basin. These researchers have provided a disturbing figure for the total loss of fresh water from the basin from 2003 to 2009 of 144 billion m3. A few points must be taken into consideration with this figure of total water loss. The researchers were concerned with the water loss in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin and not the water loss in a specific country. Therefore the 144 billion cubic meters of water loss is from an area of 753,960Km2 covering the South West of Iran, South East of Turkey, North West Syria and Northern and Central Iraq.The total water loss is over 7 years from 2003-2009,  and consists of  3 main parts, 20% was lost by evaporation in the soil, 20% from lakes and reservoirs, 60% loss by the decline in the groundwater where humans have pumped water from the ground (wells, boreholes) for usage.

The river Nile receives 55 billion cubic meters annually and we can see that in 7 years the water loss in the Tigris Euphrates basin is equivalent to three times the water in the Nile in any one year!


The researchers highlighted several issues of MAJOR concern to Iraq:
·        When there is a water shortage, the rivers supply less water to Iraq, so that Iraq relies on boreholes which then decrease the groundwater levels (this groundwater can be considered non-renewable).
·        The water loss is accelerating, especially after 2007.
·        The areas with the greatest water loss and most likely to be affected in the future are the areas furthest downstream i.e. Iraq (including South Iraq).
·        The water loss is exasperated by poor local water management.
·        The water loss is considerably exasperated by a lack of cooperation in water management between the countries concerned.
·        Turkey’s construction of dams means that Iraq therefore has less water supplied by the rivers and must then rely even more on its depleting groundwater. This situation will be exacerbated by any drought.
The lack of international cooperation water management in the region is already affecting will the lives of the people who depend on the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris.
The threat posed by Turkey’s actions
The increasing utilization of water from the Tigris and Euphrates by upstream countries is also of concern to nations outside of the region. A roundtable meeting for delegates from the nations concerned was organized by Blue Peace in the Houses of Parliament, London in December 2012 and this was followed by another meeting in Istanbul, in March 2013. I participated in both meetings but so far the only outcome has been that delegates from outside the region are even more concerned over the developing situation. Their concern was raised by Turkey’s representative making it very clear that they regard water as a commodity that they can sell. In addition they did not deny that they plan to sell agricultural land, irrigated by the water from the 22 dams constructed so far under the Turkish Southeastern Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi,GAP) project and those that they plan to construct, to other countries with limited agricultural land such as the Gulf States.
The lake behind the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates alone is more than 40kmin volume yet there has been no significant discussion on management of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates that has involved leaders of the countries of the Tigris and Euphrates. It appears that those outside the countries dependant on these rivers for water recognize the severity of the consequences of Turkey’s actions and are more concerned while, within Turkey itself, there have been protests over the flooding of land and the forced relocation of thousands of Turkish Kurds from their homes and villages and the loss of World Heritage sites. Within Iraq the fall in river levels has had repercussions on water supplies and a significant impact on the marshlands of the south.
Loss of rivers and streams flowing across the border with Iran
In addition to Turkey’s depletion of Iraq’s major rivers Iran has dammed more than 24 small rivers and streams that also supply Kurdistan and Iraq. Some of these rivers have completely dried up such as the Alwand removing the drinking water supply for almost 1.5 million people. Photographs of the Alwand in full flow and as it now is, a dry road for cars, were met with disbelief from members of the Blue Peace meeting in London in 2012. Until then the impact on Kurdistan and Iraq of Iran’s utilisation of water for irrigation had not been brought to public attention yet its actions are having a great impact. Iran is using the water for irrigation producing crops for its use and to export to its neighbor while we appear raise little objection to deprivation of water from our once fertile lands and happily buy Iran’s produce.   
The views of KRG’s General Director of Water Resources
The General Director of Water Resources, Kurdistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, has said that drought, construction of legal and illegal wells and the demand for water drinking and irrigation is having a major impact on Kurdistan’s underground water reserves and they are rapidly depleting.
He said that over the last 11 years the level of the underground water in some areas has dropped by 100 meters. In order to reach underground water one has to dig down 350m in Erbil and 250m in both Suliemaniah, and Duhok while 11 years ago one could reach underground water at only a depth of 180m to 220m in Erbil, 90 to 150m in Suliemaniah and 150m in Duhok.  The Director General said that the depth at which water is found is increasing at a dangerous rate. He further illustrated the problem by saying that in the Mala Omar district of Erbil the level at which ground water was found had increased by 18m but in the same area three years later the level had dropped a further 45m. Similarly over the past three years in Akre, and Halabja the underground water level has dropped 12m and 7m respectively and that while water usage has increased the snow and rainfall levels are decreasing annually.
In addition the DG was especially concerned about the digging of wells, especially illegally. He said there are 4,800, 7,828, and 2,034 legal wells in Erbil, Suli and Duhok, respectively, but there are also 2,000, 17,000 and 40 illegal wells in the three respective provinces. Most of these wells have been dug with Syrian-made equipment that has been banned in Syria in order to preserve that country’s underground water reserves. He has advised the government to take steps to provide water for drinking and irrigation from the rivers "…or one day the underground water will mix with other components and it cannot be used… the wells will also get dry … then a disaster will happen."

Action is needed now

It is high time that the governments in Baghdad and Erbil take steps to protect our vital supplies of water. We need restrictions on construction of new wells that are strictly adhered to and legislation on levels of water used for irrigation. Furthermore it is imperative that our governments enters formal negotiations with neighbouring states to safeguard our rivers and ensure that the river water we have depended on for millennia continues to flow through our lands.

For the last three years I have endeavored to make those in power in the KRG to take my advice and support agricultural development to no avail. The wealth of oil is blinding them to other issues but if they do not take immediate action to safeguard our water supplies then I am afraid that indeed all is lost and there is no hope for us. We are a landlocked country and, unlike Libya, we do not have the option of desalination plants to provide drinking water. Oil may bring us wealth and the ability to buy in all our food requirements today, but like our underground water reserves our oil reserves are finite and will finish one day. However before we sell all our oil our water reserves will have gone and everyone will learn the hard way that we cannot drink oil




Monday, 16 June 2014

Mosul Dam Must be Secured to Prevent Catastrophe

A map showing Moush Dam & Tel Afer

The Mosul dam has been a subject of international concern since Saddam insisted that it was built and numerous experts have raised concerns as to the threat that the dam poses to the hundreds of thousands of people who live downstream from it and to the stability of Iraq itself.
ISISداعش are known to target dams as by taking a dam they can control the water supply to those that they are targeting or destroying a dam can have catastrophic consequences to those ISIS wants to subjugate. A simple internet search for Mosul dam will reveal the opportunity he represents to those wishing to gain power or to destroy opposition.
In October 2007, the Independent newspaper UK carried the following article by their Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn. The headline of the article is a stark warning of the threat posed by the dam:

Iraqi dam burst 'would drown 500,000'

A catastrophic failure of the largest dam in Iraq would send a wave 65ft high hurtling down the valley of the river Tigris, killing up to 500,000 people, US engineers warned yesterday.

The dam, which is near Mosul in the north of the country, was built in 1984 on a bed of water-soluble rock and is in imminent danger of collapse. "In terms of the internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," said a report by the US Army Corps of Engineers. "If a small problem [at] Mosul dam occurs, failure is likely." The collapse of the two-mile long, earth-filled dam would release eight billion cubic metres of water in the lake behind it in a giant wave which would flood Mosul – a city of 1.7 million people 20 miles downstream – to a depth of 60ft.
"A catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad," the US military commander General David Petraeus and the US ambassador Ryan Crocker warned the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in a letter on 3 May this year. "Assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul Dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20m deep at the city of Mosul, which would result in a significant loss of life and property."
The frantic debate within the US and Iraqi governments over the failing dam was kept secret for months to avoid public panic and attracting the attention of insurgents. The US Army Corps of Engineers has tried to monitor the deterioration and undertake remedial action.
The state of the dam and the experts' belief that it is on the verge of collapse was first revealed by The Independent on 8 August. "It could go at any minute," a senior aid worker, who knew of the struggle by American and Iraqi engineers to save the dam, told this newspaper. "The potential for disaster is very great."
The Independent's story was confirmed yesterday with the release of a report by the US Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction, which said that the dam's foundations could give away at any moment. It spells out publicly the degree of alarm felt by the Corps of Engineers, which has directed that American military equipment on the Tigris flood plain should be moved to higher ground. The main problem is that the dam was "built in the wrong place", according to Khasro Goran, the deputy governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital. Construction of the dam, initially known as the Saddam Dam, began in 1980 and was completed four years later when the lake behind it began to fill.
"The dam was constructed on a foundation of marls, soluble gypsum, anhydrite and karstic limestone that is continuously dissolving," said a specialist at the US embassy in Baghdad. "The dissolution creates an increased risk of dam failure."
The flat, Mesopotamian plain was the site of the biblical flood where Noah launched his ark to escape the rising waters. Much of the story was drawn from the legend of Gilgamesh, the ancient Mesopotamian hero, which recounts the tale of a great inundation with details strikingly similar to those in Genesis.
For millennia,Iraq was prone to floods as melting winter snows in the mountains of Turkey filled the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In the 20th century, flooding was brought under control by an elaborate system of dams and dykes. But these would be unable to cope with the vast quantities of water which would be released if the Mosul Dam bursts.
The Independent was first told of the impending disaster by a senior aid worker who feared that no one was doing much to prevent a disaster. "It is a time bomb waiting to go off," he said. "Everybody knows about the threat but they have other preoccupations and, in the case of foreigners, it is now conveniently in Iraqi hands." He added that some military radios issued to US personnel had panic buttons to press when the dam began to give way.
The failings of the dam became clear soon after it was built and, since the late 1980s, the main method used to strengthen the foundations has been to pump liquid cement into them, or grouting. Since May this year, the water level in the reservoir behind the dam has been lowered on the advice of an international committee of experts appointed by the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, which is now responsible for the project.

Cockburn makes reference to the concerns of both US and Iraqi authorities that the dam’s weakness would attract insurgents. Un fortunately the internet and other media sources have highlighted the problems associated with the dam and the threat its collapse poses. It is essential that the dam is protected and, in the absence of Iraqi ground forces, the peshmerga are the only forces that could do so.
Saddam built the dam to try to curtail us by ensuring it does not fall to ISIS we will not only be safeguarding our border with Mosul and ISIS but taking a decisive act to safeguard countless Iraqi lives.

Latif Rashid, theex minister in charge, continues to believe that disaster can be averted. But, if the dam does break, there is nothing to stop a 65ft wall of water drowning hundreds of thousands of people between Mosul and Baghdad.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

شبح تقنين في إيران بسبب أزمة مياه

جفاف ايران ستوثر سلبا على تصدير المنتجات الزراعيه
الى العراق وخاصتا الى الاقليم

الحياة 24.5.2014
تواجه طهران ومدن إيرانية، مثل أصفهان ومشهد والأهواز، جفافاً بسبب ندرة الأمطار وشحّ المياه المُستخدمة في المنازل والزراعة والصناعة.

ودعا وزير الطاقة حميد جيت جيتان إلى ترشيد استخدام المياه، خياراً وحيداً لمواجهة تراجع مستواها، محذراً من خطورة الوضع. وأسِف لاستهلاك الإيرانيين 80 في المئة من موارد المياه المتجددة سنوياً في البلاد، مذكّراً بأن نسبة 60 في المئة تُعتبر «حرجة». وزاد: «نستهلك 20 في المئة أكثر ممّا يُعتبر أزمة (مياه) في العالم». على رغم ذلك، ما زالت الحياة العامة تفتقر إلى برامج كافية لتعزيز الوعي في شأن قلة المياه وأخطار هذه الظاهرة.

ونبّهت بلدية طهران إلى ضرورة ترشيد استهلاك المياه، وخفض استهلاكها بنسبة 25 في المئة، خشية اللجوء إلى التقنين الذي قد يعاني منه سكان العاصمة والمدن الكبرى في فصل الصيف، بسبب نقص المياه وتراجع منسوبها في السدود الإيرانية.

ويتوقّع خبراء في المياه أن تمرّ إيران بمرحلة ثالثة من الجفاف، بسبب تعديل دورات تغيّر المناخ، ما يعني أمطاراً أقل ودورات جفاف أكثر تكراراً، وهذا يضرّ بالزراعة، خصوصاً زراعة الحبوب الاستراتيجية بالنسبة إلى السكان.

وقال محافظ طهران حسين هاشمي إن عدم ترشيد الاستهلاك في العاصمة التي يقطنها 8.5 مليون شخص، سيفرض اعتماد نظام تقنين في الصيف المقبل.

لكن وكالة الأنباء الرسمية الإيرانية (إرنا) أفادت بأن مستوى استهلاك المياه في طهران سجّل في 9 الشهر الجاري «رقماً قياسياً» في يوم واحد هذه السنة، بلغ 2.9 مليون متر مكعب، يزيد بنسبة 8 في المئة عن اليوم ذاته من العام الماضي.

وعانت مدن إيرانية من الجفاف خلال السنوات الماضية، إذ شهدت أنهار مهمة جفافاً كاملاً أو شبه كامل، مثل نهر «زايندة رود» في أصفهان، وبحيرة «أرومية» غرب البلاد، وبحيرة «هامون» في إقليم سيستان وبلوشستان شرقاً، ونهر «كارون» في إقليم خوزستان جنوباً.

وتنعكس ظاهرة الجفاف على الحياة الاجتماعية والوضع الديموغرافي، إذ تؤثر في معيشة سكان القرى والأرياف، مسبّبة هجرتهم إلى المدن وتركهم أراضيهم الزراعية، ما يؤدي إلى تداعيات اجتماعية واقتصادية مهمة في البلاد.

وبين أسباب هذا التدهور، تغيّر المناخ ونموّ السكان وسوء الإدارة والإسراف في الري واستنزاف موارد المياه الجوفية.

ويشير حسن بسنديدة، مدير قسم المياه في منظمة البيئة الإيرانية، إلى أن ما تستهلكه إيران من المياه يزيد 8 مرات عن المعدل العالمي، فيما يتوقّع منسق الأمم المتحدة في طهران غاري لويس، أن تكون أزمة المياه من أضخم التحديات البيئية التي ستواجه إيران في السنوات المقبلة. وثمة مناظر غير مألوفة ومروّعة يشاهدها الإيراني يومياً، مثل تشقّق تربة الأنهر والسدود بعدما انقطعت عنها المياه، مثل نهر «زايندة رود» وسد «أمير كبير» الذي يمدّ العاصمة بالمياه. ويعتقد مهتمون بقضايا المياه بأن المؤسسات الحكومية قد تكون تأخرت في صوغ برامج توعوية وإعلامية لتحذير المواطنين من مغبّة هذه الظاهرة صيفاً، ناهيك عن أضرار اقتصادية للجفاف تنعكس مباشرة على الاقتصاد الإيراني.

وتشير مصادر إلى معاناة 517 مدينة بسبب قلة المياه، ما يضع إيران أمام أزمة مياه حقيقة لا تمكن معالجتها سوى من خلال برامج لترشيد الاستهلاك وإدارة استخدام المياه في الزراعة والصناعة.
وكان الرئيس الإيراني السابق محمود أحمدي نجاد اتهم دولاً أوروبية باستخدام آليات خاصة لمنع الغيوم الماطرة من التوجّه إلى مناطق آسيوية، بينها إيران، و «افتعال أزمة مياه في الشرق الأوسط، ما تعتبر أنه سيشعل حروب مياه في المنطقة».

وبصرف النظر عن صدقية هذه المعلومة، إلا أن عدم إسراع السلطات في اتخاذ تدابير لمواجهة الجفاف بسبب تغيّر المناخ، يعني أزمة حقيقية لا تشمل الزراعة فقط، بل مجالات الحياة والاقتصاد برمتها.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Iraq water war

Following today’s visit to the area of Abu-Ghraib, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, expressed his shock at the water being turned into an instrument of terror against the Iraqi people.
“The deliberate flooding of the Abu Ghraib area has caused the displacement of over 12,000 families and submerged hundreds of houses, including at least four schools”, he stated.

Mr. Mladenov also reiterated the UN’s readiness to continue working with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration and the local authorities to address the urgent humanitarian needs in Abu Ghraib, of which access to safe drinking water remains a priority.

“UN Humanitarian Agencies will also work with the Government and the local authorities on assessing the damages from the floods and planning for the reconstruction of an area that has some of Iraq’s richest agricultural land”, the SRSG announced.

Expressing his concern that the “water war” will have long-term negative humanitarian, health, social and economic consequences for the affected communities, Mr. Mladenov called on the Government, Iraqi Security Forces, local authorities and tribal leaders to work jointly and quickly to restore legitimate control over the flow of the river Euphrates. “Those who are now in control of the barrage in Fallujah should understand the consequences of their actions on the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis”, he warned.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

حرب المياه: بغداد بين العطش والغرق

بقلم: علي المعموري
تتزايد مشاكل العراقيّين يوماً بعد آخر، وهم يعانون الأمرَّين من جرّاء سوء إدارة الحكومة وعنف الجماعات الإرهابيّة التي أصبحت منتشرة في كل إنحاء البلد. وفي آخر التطوّرات، اتّجه كل واحد من الطرفَين -الحكومة والجماعات المسلحة- إلى استخدام المياه كأداة في صراعه مع الآخر. وفي صورة مضحكة مبكية، انقسمت بغداد قبل أيام إلى نصفَين: نصف يعاني من انقطاع المياه ونصف آخر يغرق في المياه.
 تستخدم الحكومة العراقيّة اليوم وكذلك الجماعات المسلحة في البلاد المياه، كأداة في صراعهما. وفي صورة مضحكة مبكية، انقسمت بغداد قبل أيام إلى نصفَين: نصف يعاني من انقطاع المياه ونصف آخر يغرق في المياه.

انطلقت فكرة حرب المياه من الأنبار، حيث تحوّلت العمليات العسكريّة المحدودة تدريجياً إلى حروب غير منتظمة يصعب الحسم فيها لصالح أي من الطرفَين، وذلك بسبب طول مدّتها ونوعيّة القتال الجاري هناك. فلجأ قادة عمليات الأنبار إلى ذلك قبل نحو عشرين يوماً عندما أغلق الجيش سدّ حديثة (240 كيلومتراً غرب بغداد) بهدف إغراق المناطق التي يتمركز فيها المسلحون. وقد تسبّب ذلك في إغراق مناطق سكنيّة أيضاً، بالإضافة إلى قطع المياه عن مناطق أخرى في الأنبار.
في المقابل، دفعت تلك الخطوة الجماعات الإرهابيّة إلى استخدام التكتيك نفسه. فقابلت هذا الفعل بمثله حين أغلقت ناظم الفلوجة في أوائل نيسان/أبريل الجاري، لبلوغ هدفَين محدَّدين: أولاً، إغراق المناطق المجاورة للفلوجة والتي تخضع لسيطرة الجيش. وسرعان ما أدّى ذلك إلى تعطيل سير حركة مركبات الجيش ومنعته من المضيّ بعملياته العسكريّة. ثانياً، التضييق على المحافظات الجنوبيّة ذات الأكثريّة الشيعيّة، بمنع وصول المياه إليهم. وقد أدّى ذلك إلى نقص كبير جداً في المياه في محافظة النجف على سبيل المثال. وهو ما دفع الحكومة المحليّة إلى اتخاذ إجراءات عاجلة لتجنّب قطع المياه عن المدينة.
وفي تطوّر آخر يخصّ ملف حرب المياه، قام بعض الإرهابيّين قبل أسبوعَين بتفجير أنابيب النفط في ناحية العلم التابعة لمدينة تكريت (160 كيلومتراً شمال بغداد)، ما أدّى إلى تلويث نهر دجلة بشكل كبير. فقد طافت بقع كبيرة من الزيوت على سطح النهر وشبّت حرائق كبيرة جداً في مناطق مختلفة واقعة على ضفافه، من تكريت وصولاً إلى مناطق قريبة من بغداد.
وبعد أن بلغ التلوّث المائي بغداد، أعلنت أمانة بغداد في 23 نيسان/أبريل الجاري عن وقف عمليّة ضخّ مياه الشرب إلى قسم من المناطق السكنيّة في بغداد، بسبب عجز المصافي عن معالجة المياه الملوّثة بشكل كبير. وقد أفاد شهود عيان "المونيتور" بوجود بقع كبيرة من التلوّث النفطي في مواقع مختلفة من دجلة في ضواحي بغداد. أما الأمانة فأوصت المواطنين باستخدام المياه المعبأة في قوارير، للشرب والنظافة والاستخدامات الأخرى.
ويجري ذلك في حين أن المناطق الغربيّة من بغداد مثل أبو غريب وضواحيها قد غرقت من جرّاء السيول والفيضانات، نتيجة تحكّم الإرهابيّين بناظم الفلوجة بحسب ما ذكر آنفاً. وقد أدّى الأمر إلى تشرّد سبعمائة عائلة وغرق ستّ قرى بالكامل. وأعلن نواب في البرلمان ومسؤولين محليّين عن أعداد تخمينيّة للضحايا والخسائر التي تنبئ بوقوع كارثة إنسانيّة كبيرة جداً، إذ هدّم أو تضرّر عشرة آلاف منزل وأكثر من ستين مدرسة وغرق 29 مركزاً انتخابياً بالكامل. وثمّة أنباء عن أعداد غير قليلة من القتلى والجرحى، لم يعلن عنها لحدّ الآن. وقد عبّر الخبراء عن تخوّفهم الكبير من تزايد الخسائر والضحايا في الأيام المقبلة، عندما تصل الفيضانات إلى مناطق الشعلة والعامرية وحي الجهاد ومناطق أخرى قريبة من مطار بغداد في خلال يومَين إلى ثلاثة أيام، في حال لم تتمّ السيطرة على سدّ الفلوجة. وقد أعلنت الأمم المتحدة منطقة أبو غريب "منطقة منكوبة"، وقال الممثل الخاص للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة في العراق نيكولاي ملادينوف إن المنظّمة الأمميّة على استعداد تام لتقديم المساعدة لآلاف الأسر المتضرّرة من جرّاء إغراق الأراضي في أبو غريب والفلوجة.
قد لا تكون حرب المياه قد وضعت بعد كل أوزارها، إذ ثمّة إمكانيات كثيرة أخرى لدى أطراف النزاع قد تستخدم للتلاعب بصحة المواطنين العراقيّين وحياتهم، من خلال إغلاق السدود أو تفجيرها أو تسميم المياه. ومن شأن ذلك أن يسعّر الصراع المعقّد في الأساس ويأخذه في اتجاهات أكثر تعقيداً، ما سيبعد احتمال تطبيق الحلول العقلانيّة ويؤدّي بالجميع إلى الخسارة.


تعليق الموقع على المقاله

يكاد العراق ان يكون اكثر  دولة ارتبط اسمها بحروب ومشاحنات المياه، وكانت  اول حرب من اجل  المياه قد  سُجلت في العراق قبل 4500 سنة بين ولايتين من ولايات جنوب العراق رغم انها كانت تنعم بمياه وفيرة، كما   استخدمت  المياه  في الحرب الايرانية العراقية وبنفس الطريقه التي يستخدمها الان الجيش العراقي و منظمة داعش الارهابية في شمال غرب العراق ، وقد هدد قبل شهرين  محمود الحسن احد اعضاء برلمان بغداد عن كتلة المالكي بغزو كوردستان عسكريا واحتلال السدود.

 و المصيبه الكبرى هو مايحدث لنا بيد جيراننا التي تتعامل مع المياه وكأنها سلعة ، فهم يحبذون بيع منتجاتهم الزراعية  لنا بمليارات الدولارات بدلا من السماح   للمياه بعبور الحدود وذلك بإنشاء السدود او بتغير مجاري الانهار....
 والمتابع يمكنه تصفح هذا الموقع ليعرف حقيقة جيراننا وماذا ستؤل اليه مشكلة المياه في العراق. 
تعليق الموقع على المقاله
يكاد العراق ان يكون اكثر  دولة ارتبط اسمها بحروب ومشاحنات المياه.  ان اول حرب من اجل  المياه قد  سُجلت في العراق قبل 4500 سنة بين ولايتين من ولايات جنوب العراق رغم انها كانت تنعم بمياه وفيرة، كما استخدمت  المياه  في الحرب الايرانية العراقية وبنفس الطريقه التي يستخدمها الان الجيش العراقي و منظمة داعش الارهابية في شمال غرب العراق ، وقد هدد قبل شهرين  محمود الحسن احد اعضاء برلمان بغداد عن كتلة المالكي بغزو كوردستان عسكريا واحتلال السدود. المصيبه الكبرى هو مايحدث لنا بيد جيراننا التي تتعامل مع المياه وكأنها سلعة ، فهم يحبذون بيع منتجاتهم الزراعية  لنا بمليارات الدولارات بدلا من السماح   للمياه بعبور الحدود وذلك بإنشاء السدود او بتغير مجاري الانهار....
 والمتابع يمكنه تصفح هذا الموقع ليعرف حقيقة جيراننا وماذا ستؤل اليه مشكلة المياه في العراق

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Turkey is planning to build three dams on the Tigris River

This article reveals that Turkey is planning to build three dams on the Tigris River as it flows through the Kurdish region on its way into Iraq. The article highlights the concerns of those living within the region that the environment will be destroyed, threatening the regions wildlife and the way of life for the Kurdish people living there. The dams will produce
 hydroelectric power but the lakes formed will attract the development of tourist centres, land development and related businesses at a cost to the environment and also threatens historical sites.

In this short article the author endeavours to highlight the threat that the proposed dams represent to the Kurdish region within Turkey. He is right to do so as the area has already suffered from the development of dams on the Euphrates now it seems attention is turning to the waters of the Tigris. Environmental damage, loss of wildlife, and the threat to historical sites are all raised in opposition to developments that threaten to destroy the Kurdish region of Turkey. Yet there is a major argument that should be raised against Turkey's endless development of dams along the Tigris and Euphrates, and one that receives little publicity, it is quite simply that Turkey's dams are reducing the flow of water into Iraq.

It is high time that the government in Baghdad, and the KRG, raised their concerns as to Turkey's actions in damming the rivers that are the lifeblood of Iraq. At the present time it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is responsible for Iraq's water supplies. Why? It is unusual to say the least that such an important sector is under the control of this ministry where there are no experts with the relevant knowledge in the water sector. We need an Office for Water, collaboration between the governments on Baghdad and Erbil, to form a united front to deal with this vital issue and raise international awareness of the threat Turkey's action pose to Iraq's population. We should raise the issue at the UN and, as Turkey still hopes to become part of the EU, the matter should be raised there too. We must make a stand and fight to maintain our rivers, without water there is no life.

At present it seems that we are content to purchase all the goods that Turkey sends across its borders and ignore the reduction in our rivers. If this state of affairs continues it will not be too long before we are forced to buy water from Turkey as well as our food!!