Skip to main content

Kurdish farmers hit by water crisis

With neighboring Iran diverting rivers and building dams, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is in the midst of an already severe water crisis that threatens to get even worse, thanks to national and regional governments failing to acknowledge the urgency of the problem.
Read in 

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Dead fish lay in dry river beds, and a drinking water crisis is afoot, because neighboring Iran is diverting the flow of a river. The disaster that hit the towns of Qaladze and Khanaqin this summer has shocked the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Much of the problem, however, is far less visible. In the cool, green mountains near the Kurdish town of Biara, a walnut-growing area for decades, farmers complain that the mountain wells are drying up. Among them are Backtiar Hamakhan, who uses a spade to remove stones and sand to allow what little water there is to reach his trees. Despite this, the supply is no longer enough to fill his water cistern, and he watches as it flows downhill to his neighbor’s land. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.