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Iraqi Kurdistan building 11 dams, 28 more planned

A general shot shows the Dukan dam built in 1955 northwest of Suleimaniyah in Iraq's northern autonomous region of Kurdistan, 75 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Kirkuk province, in January 2011. Authorities in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan area are building 11 dams and plan dozens more, the region's agriculture minister said Thursday, a move that could raise tensions over water. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) March 24, 2011
Authorities in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan area are building 11 dams and plan dozens more, the region's agriculture minister said Thursday, a move that could raise tensions over water.

"There are 11 dams now under construction," Jameel Sulaiman told AFP. "We have studies and designs to build 28 more," he added.

He said the dams currently under construction in three provinces of Kurdistan were "small and medium size," with storage capacities ranging between one million cubic metres (35 million cubic feet) to 10 million cubic metres.

He added that four were being built in Arbil, five in Sulaimaniyah and two in Dohuk, but did not say when they would be completed.

"We are building these dams in order to develop the agriculture sector in the region, and for water storage, because Iraq has suffered droughts for the past several years," Sulaiman said.

Water is a major source of tension in Iraq, especially between the Kurdistan region and other provinces.

In the multi-ethnic Kirkuk province, Arab farmers accuse the Kurdistan region of ruining them by closing the valves to a dam in winter.

A growing water deficit and dams built by Iraq's neighbours have significantly reduced the water flow in a country that was until the late 1950s a breadbasket of the Arab world.

A UN factsheet in October 2010 showed that while more rain fell in 2009 compared with 2008, the water situation in Iraq is still critical. Rainfall is now 50 percent below average.

earlier related report
Judge halts Everglades reservoir project
Miami (UPI) Mar 24, 2011 - A Florida judge has halted the construction of a reservoir intended to keep pollution from the Everglades, saying "better viable alternatives" will be explored.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno said "almost every expert" agreed there were better alternatives to the partially built $800 million reservoir project for removing damaging phosphorus flowing into the Everglades from sugar farms, cattle ranches and suburbs, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

Moreno said the South Florida Water Management District's shrinking budget, the state's purchase of 26,000 acres of sugar fields and another judge's order to expand other cleanup efforts had combined to change the strategy for reducing the flow of pollution into the Everglades.

"It seems that given these changed circumstances, now is the time to move forward with exploring better viable alternatives rather than cling to what was promised in the past," Moreno wrote.

Kirk Fordham, chief executive officer for the Everglades Foundation, said money already spent on the reservoir wouldn't be wasted because it could be easily converted into a shallow storm water treatment area to help meet tough water quality standards for the Everglades.

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Ethiopian dams on Nile stir river rivalry
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (UPI) Mar 16, 2011
Ethiopia is pressing ahead with plans to build large dams on the Nile as upstream African states put pressure on a reluctant Egypt to share the waters of the world's longest river more equitably. The Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. has awarded the Italian construction firm Salini Costruttori a contract to build three giant dams intended to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. ... read more

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