Demanding immediate action

Erbil residents protest water shortages

ERBIL — Residents of the Saidawa neighborhood in Erbil protested on 60 Meter Street on Thursday, expressing their dissatisfaction with ongoing water shortages.

During the demonstration, participants voiced their grievances, calling for an immediate solution to the water scarcity that has plagued their area for months.

One woman told 964media, “It is unacceptable that we lack water. The high-rise buildings with 33 floors have water but Saidawa does not. God does not accept this.”

The scarcity has forced residents to purchase water at substantial costs. “We buy water from tankers for 45,000 to 50,000 dinars each,” a protester revealed, which is equivalent to about $34 to $38.

Another protester stressed the enduring nature of the issue, “This situation must end. It has been like this last year too, not just this year.”

Erbil faces challenges in water supply due to its topography and rapid population growth. The city’s main water sources are Ifraz, which provides 35% of its water and is located 30 kilometers away, and water drawn from 1240 wells.

Recently, the Kurdistan Regional Government reported that water levels in underground sources have dropped by about 500 meters over the past two decades, with wells that were once 100 meters deep now needing to be dug to around 700 meters as of 2022.

In 2023, Iraq’s Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Aoun Diab Abdullah, addressed the excessive use of groundwater in an interview that coincided with a demonstration in Bahrka, north of Erbil. Abdullah stated, “Significant and unjustifiable use of groundwater in Erbil has caused a substantial drop in water levels,” with wells now requiring depths of up to 800 meters.

Erbil uses graywater to irrigate the city's public parks

Erbil uses graywater to irrigate the city's public parks