Tharthar and Habbaniyah lakes at risk

Iraq’s lakes and rivers facing drought conditions amid water management challenges

BAGHDAD, January 15 – Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources, Aoun Diab, said his ministry is facing challenges in managing water levels in the Euphrates River due to scarce allocations from Turkey.

Diab also confirmed that Lake Al-Habbaniyah in Anbar governorate is currently experiencing drought conditions.

The minister issued a statement, reported by Al-Sabah newspaper, which said:

There is currently no possibility to direct water to Tharthar and Habbaniyah lakes, especially since the latter is experiencing drought conditions of up to 100 percent, leading to a decline in the number of tourists visiting its tourism site.

In the event of future flooding, it would be possible to redirect waters to partially restore Lake Habbaniyah.

The water released from the Haditha Dam in Anbar governorate for hydroelectricity generation is less than 225 m3/s, while the allocated quantities from Turkey to the Euphrates River currently do not exceed 210 m3/s. This indicates that Iraq’s water reserves are already scarce [and cannot] maintain the minimum flow of the Euphrates River.

We hope that good water flow will reach Iraq soon or in the future to address the significant challenges faced by the Ministry of Water Resources.

Without substantial amounts pumped from water allocations to the Euphrates from Tharthar Lake or those transferred to it from the Tigris River, the situation would become extremely critical.