Water shortage affecting agriculture

Iraq may need to find alternatives to the Tigris and Euphrates, says minister

BAGHDAD, October 26 — Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Abbas Al-Maliki says that Iraq faces a difficult choice of finding alternatives to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, emphasizing wells as a primary solution to confront the drought crisis while ensuring the continuity of agriculture.

Al-Maliki, in an interview with journalist Saadoun Muhsin Dhamad, noted that the challenging environmental conditions extend beyond Iraq, with the nation ranking fifth globally in terms of vulnerability to climate change.

The Ministry of Agriculture is in continuous collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, seeking to employ groundwater as an alternative, Al-Maliki stated, stressing the importance of sustainable and responsible use of groundwater to prevent over-exploitation.

Certain Iraqi governorates, like Najaf, Karbala, Anbar, and Salah Al-Din, have been actively drilling wells due to their high rates of water production. The Ministry of Agriculture follows a process of drilling wells in cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources, with a focus on indicators related to the productivity of the wells.

Al-Maliki acknowledged the overall favorable situation in the country regarding well-drilling, despite the need to dig deeper wells due to the growing problem of drought. While the depth of wells in some areas, like Samawah, has increased from 50 to 200 meters, he said the situation was still relatively manageable compared to regions like Erbil, where wells are dug to a depth of 800 meters.