Water levels have dropped dramatically in the last few days in Iraq’s Tigris river following a decrease in supply out of Turkey.
The Iraqi Ministry of Water, Hasan al-Janabi, blamed the shortage on Turkey filling up the newly built Ilisu Dam, close to where the Tigris flows into Iraq.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum stressed on Sunday the importance of working with Turkey, Iran and Syria in order to reach "fair" results in water policy.
Al-Janabi pointed out that his ministry is working to promote dialogue and understanding With Turkey to reduce the damage caused by their Ilisu dam, as reported by al-Sumaria channel, citing a statement by the Iraqi president.
The director of Mosul Dam in Iraq told Iraqi Kurdish television, Channel Kurdistan 24, the amount of water coming from Turkey has decreased by 50 percent.
An Iraqi official had said that rains account for 30 percent of Iraq’s water resources. “The remaining 70 percent of the water is from Iran and Turkey,” he added.
He said that Iran “completely changed” the course of the Karun River and set up three large dams on the Karkh River after they were the main sources of water in Iraq. He noted that Iraq was involved with Iran through 45 waterways, of which only three or four remain today.
Iraqi citizens took to Twitter to share their concerns over the dramatic drop in water levels, many worrying over the consequences of this on their crop and livelihood.
Many expressed their anger and called for a boycott of Turkish and Iranian products as a retaliation, creating the hashtag ‘water for imports’.
Moqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sairoon alliance which won the recent Iraqi parliamentary elections, said on his official Twitter account that he believes “the cuts in water and electricity will not make Iraqis kneel.”
The Tigris is one of two major rivers in Iraq, providing water to millions of people in the country's central and southern cities, and also irrigating many of its main farmlands.