Expert: Turkish Ilisu dam have negative consequences for Iran

 An Iranian water sources management specialist has warned the Turkish Ilisu Dam can endanger water resources in both Iran and Iraq, urging the need for an international agreement to have fair access to regional waters.

Jamal Mohammad Vali Samani, head of Water Studies Department at the Iranian Parliament Research Center (IPRC) said the newly inaugurated Turkey’s Ilisu Dam which is the second biggest dam in Turkey after the Atatürk dam, can significantly reduce the water that flows in the Euphrates river.

Samani added that with the Ilisu dam coming on stream, the Turkish government will control the bulk of the water in the region and can use that control as leverage at the time of water scarcity or drought against other countries.

The water resources specialist also noted that there are a lot of dams built in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on the Tigris which can create problems for the capital of Iraq, Baghdad in the future.

With regard to the Turkish Ilisu dam’s consequences for Iran, he pointed out that even before the Turkish dam was inaugurated, the water on the Iraqi side that used to flow in Hour-al-Azim wetland in the southwest Iran on the shared border with Iraq had significantly reduced compared to the past and in fact, Iran was the only side that providing its share of water to the wetland.

“Over the past years, large parts of the Hour-al-Azim wetland on the Iraqi side have dried up. With the construction of the new dam in Turkey, there is a possibility of more dried-up parts in the wetland which will increase dust storms resulting from droughts in our border provinces,” the expert added.

He added the water that flows in the Hour-al-Azim wetland on the Iraqi side will decrease significantly after the dam became operational, rendering Iraq to increase its pressure on Iran to let its water resources on the shared borders flow in the wetland in the near future.

“Meanwhile, Turkey is building a dam on the Aras River, which can completely control the river and create a serious problem between us[Iran] and Armenia. In general, these water projects are pursued by Turkey for political purposes in the region,” he further noted,

Samani also noted that “Reciprocal measures must be taken as soon as possible.”

He further said that Iran should cooperate with Iraq in countering Turkey’s actions.

He also called for the formation of a working group comprising different Iranian apparatuses such as the Foreign Ministry as well as the energy ministry and the environment Organization to appeal to relevant international bodies given the growing problem of dust storms which have intensified due to the water scarcity in Iraq.

The water management specialist further added, despite Iran and Iraq’s efforts to prevent Turkey from constructing the Ilisu dam, it was finally built.

He also urged for an international treaty in the region for the fair use of water resources.

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