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