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Iraqi official believes water shortage not caused by Turkish dam

BAGHDAD, June 2 (KUNA) -- Iraq's Minister of Water Resources Hassan Al-Janabi on Saturday watered down concerns emanating from Turkey's newly constructed Ilisu dam on the Tigris, which snakes across Turkish and Iraqi territories.
Speaking at a news conference, the minister affirmed that Iraq is capable of securing drinking water throughout the nation despite drop in the Tigris water flow.
Iraq is also able to secure irrigation water for 600,000 donums of fields of summer crops and one million donums of orchads. (Donum=approx 1,000 square meter).
Current water shortage in the country is largely due to low levels of rainfalls, he explained.
However he noted that he would visit both Turkey and Iran later this month to discuss rivers' water sharing with them.
Turkey has begun filling the newly built dam. Ankara had scheduled to fill it in November last year but delayed the move in response to a request by Baghdad.
The Ilisu dam is a concrete-face rock-fill dam on the Tigris near the village of Ilisu and along the border of Mardin and Sirnak Provinces in Turkey. It is one of the 22 dams of the Southeastern Anatolia Project and its purpose is hydroelectric power production, flood control and water storage. When operational, the dam will support a 1,200 MW power station and will form a 10.4 billion m3 reservoir. Construction of the dam began in 2006. (end) ahh.rk