Tigris River Pollution in Baghdad: Challenges and Recommendations
After decades of neglect during the sanctions in the 1990s and environmental damage caused by conflicts after 2003, pollution in Iraq has reached a peak level. The water quality of the Tigris River, the lifeline of the country, has deteriorated in recent times. This has left an imprint on the population: over 1,200,000 cubic meters of pollutants can be found in the Tigris River in Baghdad, one of the causes of inciting cancer among 600,000 Iraqis. The rate of pollution has increased in the past decade especially from industrial and household discharges dumped into the Tigris River. Iraq’s treated and untreated water is routinely dumped back into public waters. Absent is a comprehensive management strategy and treatment of these pollution causes. Subsequent governments have not taken their responsibility and have failed to acknowledge the issues at stake and to consider possible solutions to reduce pollution levels. This report focuses on a particular example of river pollution in a specific geographical area: the Tigris River in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq and the administrative, industrial and population center of the country. Here wastewater from various sources flows directly into the river. Two specific case studies from the public service and industrial sector are presented here: Medical City and the Daura Refinery. The Daura Refinery is managed by the state-owned Midland Refineries Company (MRC) and Medical City by the Ministry of Health. No accurate statistics are currently available for small-scale industrial wastewater treatment stations and their discharge. Large industries such as the Daura Refinery have their own treatment stations and discharge the treated water into the Tigris River. However, it is known among Iraqi scientists and experts that the treatment is not adequate and has a negative impact on the river. Meanwhile the public service sector in Baghdad, driven by population growth, disposes of wastewater into the river. Some of this is not adequately treated or not treated at all. This report provides an analysis of some of the sources of the pollution, the impact on the local population, the response up until now and recommendations. The aim of this research is to advocate for sustainable Tigris River policies in Baghdad and Iraq.
The Impact Of The Daryan Dam On The Kurdistan Region Of Iraq
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is currently undergoing severe financial, economic, political and social crises. The region is struggling to pay its public servants and its debts have reached the level of 14 billion US dollars. In addition, the KRI is currently on track to experience a water crisis, which may have catastrophic consequences. Most of the rivers which run through the KRI emanate from Turkey or Iran, and the potential water crisis will be instigated by large-scale dams outside of the KRI’s borders coming on-stream, primarily the Daryan Dam in Iran, and to a lesser extent the Ilisu Dam in Turkey, both of which are nearing completion. over water disputes. To date, however, these disputes remain unresolved.3 In recent years, the KRG itself began constructing additional dams, which are viewed as a threat throughout the rest of Iraq. In Baghdad and Erbil alike, nationalist rhetoric is increasing, and water carries great potential to play a significant role in future disputes between the two governments. Controversially, though KRG politicians and civil activists are in opposition of the construction of dams on shared rivers in Turkey and Iran, they support the construction of dams in the KRI in order to control access to water resources flowing to Central and Southern Iraq. In 2012, former Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament Mahmud Othman urged the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to negotiate with Turkey and Iran In recent years, Iranian water projects have greatly reduced the water flows of the Alwan Rivernear Khanaqin in Iraq,4 and the Iranian government is now constructing the Daryan Dam on the Sirwan (or Sirwan) River, referred to as the Diyala River in Iraq, which will mostly affect water resources in Halabjah Governorate in the KRI.5 The Daryan Dam is in Kermanshah Province of Iranian Kurdistan, 28.5 km from the Iraqi border. The government of Iran says the dam is being built for the purpose of producing hydroelectric power, as well as for irrigation purposes in southwestern Iran. The dam is expected to produce 230 megawatts of electricity. In addition, only 9.5 km from the Daryan Dam, the Iranian government is constructing a 47 km tunnel channel, known as the Nawsud water tunnel. Construction of the dam by Iranian company Farab Co. began in 20096 and is expected to be completed in 2018. Officials from Halabjah Governorate in the KRI are less concerned about the dam than they are about the tunnel, which will divert water from the Sirwan River. With the completion of the dam and the tunnel, water flows to the KRI would be completely cut, which, according to Halabjah government officials, could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.The following qualitative research of the impacts of the Daryan Dam is largely based oninterviews with KRG officials, local officials of dam-affected areas, NGOs and academics. So far, very little literature is available on the Daryan Dam. This paper aims to fill that gap, and will provide a social and political analysis of the impact of the Daryan Dam on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.