The color of the Iraqi sky has been yellow-brown for a month now. Dust covers everything, window panes, house walls, palm trees, even people’s faces. And this blanket of dust from Iraq has spread to neighboring countries as well. Rainfall in Iraq has dropped dramatically and this year and the previous one it hardly ever rained.
Last Thursday, Aoun Diab, the consultant to the ministry of water resources, told the press that the volume of the “temporary water reserve” was reduced by 50 percent compared to its natural availability, mainly due to the disappearance of rainfall and for the distribution of national water resources to neighboring countries.
Climate change underway
Drought and water scarcity have already forced Iraq to cut cultivated areas by half for the 2021-2022 winter season. The rainless years of 2020, 2021 and 2022 are a warning about the country’s future. Iraq, rich in oil and gas, is one of the five countries in the world most affected by climate change. With desertification advancing, water is a central issue in this already semi-desert country where 41 billion people live.
The World Bank warns that in the absence of adequate water policies, Iraq could lose up to 20 percent of its available water reserves by 2050. In a country already ravaged by wars, the financial institution continues, this will particularly affect agricultural areas that depend on irrigation. “The rain that continues to lack certainly gives us a warning on how to use water during the summer and in the winter season”, says Diab, “this situation deserves the utmost attention, so we are planning the next agricultural season in the light of data in our possession “.
(Translation by Francesco De Lellis)