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Iraq seeks neighbours help on power and water supplies

Turkey has increased water flow along the Euphrates into Iraq by opening sluices upstream after Iraq complained its farmers faced an imminent crisis, Iraq's Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Jamal Rasheed said on Sunday.
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) May 27, 2009
Iraq is on Thursday to ask Iran and Turkey to help it fend off potentially deadly thirst and heat this summer by supplying the water and electricity it needs, an electricity ministry official said.

Both neighbours have reduced supplies on power lines that serve parts of Iraq and the country's water reserves are far below last year's levels.

"Stocks are very low and the level of the Euphrates river has dropped so much that there is no longer enough to produce electricity," Adel Mahdi, the minister's adviser on operations, told AFP on Wednesday.

He said Iraq's power and water shortage would be discussed with Iranian and Turkish representatives at a meeting in Baghdad on Thursday.

Iraq's peak electricity demand reaches around 11,500 megawatts, while its production capacity is only about 7,000 MW, leaving it with a 40 percent deficit.

To make up for the shortfall it buys electricity from its neighbours.

Mahdi said Iraq has signed contracts with Iran to import 200 MW to supply the southern city of Basra. There are also two high-voltage lines of 300 MW and 140 MW running to Diyala region northeast of Baghdad and and a 10 KW line to the Kurdish area of Panjawin.

The Iraqi government has signed a contract with Ankara for Turkey to supply 200 MW of power to the Kurdish district of Dohuk.

"During the meeting we will hold discussions with these two countries as Iran has decided to reduce electricity supply by half to Diyala because of a heatwave at home and Turkey is only supplying 150 MW of the 200 MW it is supposed to supply to Dohuk," Mahdi said.

In December, Electricity Minister Karim Wahid pledged there would be no more power cuts in 2011, eight years after the US-led invasion.

Disputes over the international allocation of water from the Tigris and Euphrates -- the rivers after which ancient Mesopotamia (between the rivers) was named -- is almost as old as Iraq.

But the current situation is unusually severe.

Iraq's dams contained a total of 11 billion cubic metres (388 billion cubic feet) of water in early May, down from more than 40 billion a year ago, although rainfall was at average levels last winter.

Turkey has increased water flow along the Euphrates into Iraq by opening sluices upstream after Iraq complained its farmers faced an imminent crisis, Iraq's Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Jamal Rasheed said on Sunday.

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Turkey boosts Euphrates flow after Iraq complaints
Baghdad (AFP) May 24, 2009
Turkey has increased the flow of water in the Euphrates river by opening sluices upstream after Iraq complained its farmers faced an imminent crisis, Iraq's water resources minister said on Sunday. Turkey has increased the volume of water running through the Euphrates by 130 cubic metres (4,550 cubic feet) per second to 360 (12,600) although the extra flow will bring only limited relief to ... read more







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