Iraqi authorities are searching for to construct a dam to unravel drought and water shortages within the nation’s north, at a time when this new venture threatens to wipe out villages and farmland, in response to a report ready by AFP.
For example of weak nations, the report states that an Iraqi citizen, Jamil al-Jubouri (53 years outdated), has lived all his life in his village “Al-Mashak” positioned within the north of Iraq, the place his household works. farming for generations, however it was threatened to go elsewhere due to the Commerce Dam. The authorities constructed him and would flood his home and fields with water.
Like Jamil, tens of hundreds of Iraqis seem like vulnerable to eviction as a result of Makhoul Dam venture, which the Iraqi authorities hopes to finish inside 5 years, on the Tigris River, on the executive borders between Kirkuk and Salah al-Din provinces.
Authorities are defending the venture, which they are saying will present a water reserve to take care of shortages in mild of the extreme drought Iraq has been dealing with for 3 years and the results of local weather change. In 2022, Iraq witnessed its worst drought yr in practically 92 years, in response to the Ministry of Water Sources.
Nonetheless, civil society opposes the dam venture, stating its detrimental results on thirty villages with about 118 thousand inhabitants, together with the menace to biodiversity and a lot of archaeological websites within the area.
Amongst these villages is Al-Masak, which is positioned on the banks of the Tigris and is characterised by picturesque nature, and farmers rely on fertile land wealthy in water.
Nonetheless, that can change when the dam is accomplished. The waters of his lake, which is able to comprise three billion cubic meters of water, will submerge the world the place Jamil al-Jubouri lives.
“I used to be born and raised right here,” says the person as he displays on his household’s farm. “It is laborious for me to depart and go to a different place. We are going to go away historical past behind.”
A person, wearing Arab clothes, works at a close-by oil refinery, whereas his sons proceed to domesticate the household’s land with greens and wheat.
Ali Jamil agrees to depart his nation and village, placing “nationwide curiosity earlier than his private curiosity,” however states that the dam will probably be a venture that “serves Iraq and Iraqis” and that he’ll obtain “satisfactory compensation to safe his future and the way forward for his youngsters.”
Iraq, which incorporates eight main dams, suffers from falling river ranges and complains about dams inbuilt neighboring Turkey that impede the circulate of water to the Mesopotamian nation.
The Makhoul Dam building venture was launched in 2001 through the reign of Saddam Hussein, however was halted as a result of US invasion in 2003 and the next years as a result of deterioration of safety within the nation.
Work on the dam venture continued in 2021, with drilling and soil evaluation, and the development of a bridge connecting the 2 banks of the Tigris River.
Salah al-Din’s deputy governor, Riyad al-Samarrai, defended the venture, noting that it will additionally present “a 250-megawatt energy plant and an irrigation river that feeds giant agricultural areas to assist the nation’s meals safety.”
And he emphasised that “the general public curiosity requires the development of this dam so as to present water storage for Iraq”.
As well as, the dam will “stop the danger of flooding” in case the river degree rises, in response to Al-Samarrai.
The identical official mentioned that there are 5 villages on the web site of the dam’s reservoir, explaining that “a committee has been shaped from the related governorates and ministries to offer satisfactory compensation to the residents” for his or her relocation.
Nonetheless, civil society organizations take a look at the venture from a unique angle. It warns of its detrimental results that may have an effect on animals and vegetation within the area, in response to a report ready by two non-governmental organizations “Save the Tigris” and “Protectors of the Tigris”. The report pointed to the menace to the setting and archaeological websites, together with the archaeological web site of Assyria, which is on the United Nations Instructional, Scientific and Cultural Group (UNESCO) heritage checklist.
Final August, the Worldwide Group for Migration deplored the shortage of “makes an attempt at dialogue” with communities inhabiting the area.
In a report primarily based on a examine carried out by an Iraqi group, she mentioned: “Individuals who interviewed farmers and landowners see the Makhoul Dam as a severe menace to their assets.”
“lack of belief”
Farmer Ibrahim al-Jubouri, who’s Dzemil’s father, confirms this, saying: “Nobody got here to see us and nobody requested us about something.” “My grandparents, my father and I, all of us lived on this space “, the 89-year-old added with a sigh.
Regardless of this, al-Jubouri, the chief of the al-Jubouri clan who lives in al-Mashak, confirms that he’s prepared to depart if the compensation is sufficient to “construct new houses like ours”.
A examine ready by the non-governmental group for tradition and improvement “Liwan” talks concerning the hazard of the destruction of 39 villages if the dam is constructed.
The identical group referred to greater than 67 sq. kilometers of “agricultural land, estates and inexperienced orchards” which are vulnerable to disappearing when the dam’s waters rise to the restrict.
Based on the identical examine, there are greater than 61,000 head of livestock that have to be “bought or moved” to a different location.
“Iraq’s drawback is the final drop in water ranges coming from Turkey and Iran,” says Mahyar Kazem, a researcher who participated within the preparation of the “Liwan” examine.
He believes that “Iraq doesn’t want a brand new dam”, noting that “the Tigris River ought to proceed to circulate as a result of growing salinity of the river”.
He pointed to “a lot of girls within the area whose households rely on agriculture and land,” including that “we do not know what’s going to occur to those households” after their deportation.
The examine confirmed that “the dam will disrupt the every day lifetime of round 118,000 individuals”.
She pointed to a “lack of belief in decision-makers”, explaining that “it’s typically mentioned that any protest will fall on deaf ears”.