The European Union and the UNESCO organized a high level meeting on “Building a Roadmap for Effective Groundwater Management in Iraq”, in the context of the EU-funded project entitled “Advanced hydrogeological survey of groundwater resources in Iraq phase 2 (ASHRI-2)”. The meeting held in Italy’s Treviso, aimed at setting out a path towards developing the future national capacity strategy of the water sector in Iraq.
Building upon UNESCO's long experience and studies in the field of drought and water resources' management in Iraq, ASHRI-2 crucially addresses water shortage and scarcity, and its dangerous outcome on socio-economic and cultural development, health, environment and eco-systems.
Since its launch in November 2013, ASHRI-2 has delivered critical data, information and knowledge management tools required for sound management of groundwater resources in Iraq and deployed state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques in geo-scientific mapping of groundwater resources, and IT-based database management, forming important outcomes of the project contributing to groundwater resources in Iraq based on knowledge and development of cadres, tools and capacities to manage groundwater. Recognizing the Iraqi authorities’ ownership of these products and tools, key project partners including the Ministry of Water Resources in Baghdad (MoWR), the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources (MoWAR) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee (PMAC), discussed a set of recommendations to develop and utilize water resources sustainably.
H.E. Abdulsatar Majeed, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in KRG underlined that “the workshop is an important step for this project and the nation. We are keenly aware of the issues facing our water, particularly those in our region. Groundwater tables are decreasing, ins some areas by 100m. KRG looks forward to engaging in the discussion and has two requests: Firstly, the assistance in developing micro-dams for capturing water for agriculture and multi-purposes in the local areas, including groundwater recharge.
Secondly, assistance in building irrigation systems to assist in diverting and allocating water to specific areas for domestic and agriculture uses.
Dr Sadeq Al Jawad, the Advisor for Agriculture and Water of PMAC noted that “information on groundwater needs to be consolidated, and expanded, so that Iraq can manage and use these precious resources sustainably. Thanks to strategic sector studies carried out over the past few years, and the ASHRI-2 project, the water sector authorities have been provided an advanced knowledge base on the national groundwater resources; ASHRI-2 is in a position to provide guidance to the government to move forward with solid recommendations regarding the sustainable management of limited water resources”.
Through EU contribution of five million Euros, "ASHRI-2" has validated and updated essential data and information on Iraq’s groundwater resources, improving the government's management capabilities in this field. Building upon UNESCO's long experience and studies in the field of drought and water resources' management in Iraq, ASHRI-2 crucially addresses water shortage and scarcity, and its dangerous outcome on socio-economic and cultural development, health, environment and eco-systems. Towards the end of ASHRI-2, UNESCO Office for Iraq aims to harness a more developed knowledge base on groundwater resources, and to provide evidence based policy guidance and recommendations to the Government.