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Ministry of Water Resources – Progress and Priorities


Challenge: Under the old regime technology used to manage Iraq’s water resources lagged decades behind much of the industrialized world, resulting in additional waste and inefficiency in the management of water resources.

Progress: The MoWR has begun an aggressive program to modernize the management of their water system with the latest technology. A comprehensive model of the entire system is being developed utilizing the same state-of-art software that is utilized within the United States and many other modern countries throughout the world.

In another step to bring the administration of the Ministry into the 21st Century, internet connectivity has been established at various sites throughout the Ministry.

Iraq’s Reservoirs

Challenge: Prior to Iraq’s liberation Iraqi reservoirs were operated conservatively due to a lack of reliable information related to reservoirs operated in Turkey and the threat that posed to maintaining a consistent water supply.

Progress: With support from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and US Foreign Service officers, a weekly exchange of data from Turkey has been established, providing Reliable information on the status of the Turkish reservoirs.

As a result the Ministry of Water Resources now can optimize the operation of the Iraqi reservoirs more efficiently, thus supply more water for irrigation purposes and generating more hydro-electric power which provides 20 % of the nation’s electrical power needs.

The CPA and the MoWR will continue to work hard to reestablish greater cooperation on water issues between Syria, Turkey, and Iraq.
Ministry of Water Resources – Progress and Priorities

Mesopotamian Marshes

Challenge: Under Saddam inhabitants of the Mesopotamian marshes were physically brutalized as were their lands resulting in an internationally recognized environmental and cultural disaster. The Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshes is one the main objectives of the Ministry of Water Resources.

Progress: In an astonishing turnaround the Mesopotamian marshes have already benefited greatly since the liberation, presenting new signs of hope for renewal and restoration:

  • Large areas (30-40%) of the original extent of the marsh have been inundated since liberation in April 2003,
  • Thousands of internally and externally displaced Marsh Arabs have come back to the restored marshes to resume their indigenous way of life,
  • Economic activities have increased in the marshes including fishing, mat weaving, water buffalo herding and agriculture,
  • Environmental conditions have improved including the return of migratory birds, moderated temperatures and improved air quality.
  • Water Management

Challenge: Until now the Ministry has been unable to accurately predict the volume of water entering the system form Turkey.

Progress: A snow melt model is being developed for the MoWR that will obtain satellite imagery of the snow-pack in Turkey and from this will estimate the volume of water that will enter the system from Turkey.

The MoWR is close to establishing a real-time network of gages throughout the system within Iraq that will allow them for the first time to understand in real-time what is happening in the system by providing hourly data of river flows and reservoir water levels.

This will allow them to make timely and accurate decisions to effectively manage the system during flood and irrigation season.


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