The World Bank (WB) said that Iraq may witness a 20 percent decrease in water resources by 2050 due to climate change, warning of the implications for growth and employment.
The water file is a major issue in this country, which has a population of 40 million people and is rich in oil resources, but it is facing a severe electricity crisis exacerbated by increasingly severe droughts and low precipitation rates in various parts of the country over the recent years.
In this context, Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Director of the Middle East Department at the World Bank, said in a statement accompanying a new report that without concrete action, the constraints in the water sector will lead to significant losses across multiple sectors of the economy, affecting more and more groups.
The report warned that by the year 2050, an increase in temperature in degrees Celsius and a decrease in precipitation by 10 percent will lead to a 20 percent decrease in the available fresh water in Iraq.
“Under these conditions, the water will not reach nearly a third of the irrigated land,” he added.
Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could fall by as much as 4 percent, or $6.6 billion, compared to 2016.
The report of the WB added that water scarcity had begun to cause limited-scale forced displacement, especially in the south of the country.
On the other hand, the director of the Azim Dam in Iraq, Abdul-Jabbar Ahmed Shaye Al-Obaidi, revealed that the dam’s water reserve has decreased to about 20% of its capacity.
Al-Obaidi said, said on Tuesday that the amount of water storage in the Azim Dam now amounts to 364 million cubic meters, out of a capacity of one and a half billion cubic meters.
He noted that this decrease brought the remaining water storage to about one-fifth or about 20 % of its carrying capacity.
Iraq says that Turkish water projects have reduced its water quota by 80%, while Ankara accuses Baghdad of wasting large amounts of water.