Water levels improve in Iraq's north

Turkey implements water release agreement from Ilisu and Ataturk dams

BAGHDAD, August 14 — Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources Aoun Diab Abdullah stated on Sunday that Turkey has begun releasing water from the Ilisu and Ataturk dams in recent days as part of a water-sharing agreement between the two countries.

Speaking to journalist Saadoun Muhsin Dammad, Abdullah said he met with Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq and conveyed that Baghdad is monitoring water levels in both dams’ reservoirs, and that Ankara’s concerns about the impact of increased releases on its hydropower stations are unfounded.

“The issue of water negotiations with Turkey is now in the hands of the government, specifically Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani,” Abdullah said. “I initially met with the Turkish ambassador for an hour and a half, and I informed him that we have comprehensive information about the water volume in all Turkish dams.”

Iraqi officials had initially requested that Turkey release 500 cubic meters per second each from the Ilisu and Ataturk dams, but compromised on a reduced flow of 370 m3/s and 350 m3/s respectively.

“This was supposed to start on July 1st, but unfortunately, this agreement wasn’t implemented until two days ago when they finally began releasing the water,” Abdullah said. “We have noticed improvement in the releases to Mosul Dam coming from Ilisu.”