First Published: 2011-07-20

 

Iraq launches system to develop, safeguard groundwater

 

First stage on UNESCO-led national initiative to map Iraq’s underground water resources has been completed.

 

Middle East Online

BAGHDAD - The Government of Iraq reasserted its commitment to tackle the ongoing water crisis on July 3 as it completed the first stage of a national initiative to map the country’s underground water resources.

Representatives of the government, academia and the international community recently met at a high-level gathering in Baghdad to inaugurate the country’s first centralized groundwater database and commission the next phase of the multi-million dollar initiative led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Government efforts to address drought and other complex water-related issues have been hampered in recent years by a lack of reliable and up-to-date information on underground water. While the water flowing in the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers—the country’s primary sources of water—is well understood, existing knowledge of groundwater in Iraq is considered to be too incomplete, outdated and fragmented to provide a basis for strategic water planning.

In 2010, UNESCO Iraq launched a nationwide initiative to integrate Iraq’s groundwater data into a centralized database and help the government take stock of groundwater supplies. The results of the first phase were delivered during the UNESCO-sponsored event, entitled “National Validation Seminar for the Advanced Hydrogeological Survey for Sustainable Groundwater Development in Iraq (Phase I).”

A new National Hydrogeological Resources Assessment Network and Database for Iraq, known as “geoFIA” (www.geo-fia.org), was unveiled at the meeting. Designed as an interactive web-based platform, geoFIA will be used by Iraqi experts to collect, update and analyze information on groundwater on a continuous basis. GeoFIA is expected to underpin water master planning and bolster scientific research in the country.

The inauguration of geoFIA also marks the transition towards launching the next stage of the program, a two-year, US $10-million initiative that will map Iraq’s aquifers and develop a more complete understanding of water below the earth’s surface.

The National Seminar was co-hosted by the Advisory Commission of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik (PMAC) and UNESCO, and attended by high-level dignitaries such as Chairman of the Prime Minister Advisory Commission, Mr Thamer Al-Ghadhban; H.E. Mohammed Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Industry and Minerals; H.E. Dr. Samir Raouf, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, and EU Ambassador to Iraq Dr. Jana Hybaskova. Other high-level representatives and experts from the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Planning, and Ministry of Higher Education also attended.

In his opening address, Mr. Thamer Al-Ghadhban, Chairman of the Prime Minister Advisory Commission, emphasized that a stable and safe supply of groundwater is instrumental to the national security of Iraq. Providing decision-makers with facilitated up-to-date and transparent scientific data will help encourage the Government to embrace a modernized and collaborative system for the management of groundwater resources. Mr. Thamer called on the government to engage the international community and to finance joint projects that address priority issues such as water.

H.E. Jana Hybaskova, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Iraq, praised the “efforts of the Government and UNESCO for an integrated groundwater management scheme. We intend to continue our support towards protecting Iraq’s water resources. Our priority is to build the necessary capacity for sustainable management of the increasingly scarce resource water.” The EU had provided the funds ($675,000) for the first phase of the UNESCO-led initiative.

 

Tougher penalties as UAE updates counter-terrorism law

Three senior Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commanders killed in Gaza

Obama demands world action against jihadist ‘cancer’

France delivered arms to Syrian rebels 'a few months ago'

British jihadists on forefront on IS propaganda

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal in Doha

Iraq Kurds face real challenges in fight against IS jihadists

Death toll in Syria war tops 180,000

US reveals failed operation to rescue American hostages in Syria

Somali journalists face trial for ‘violence incitement’

Iran asks West: What is our reward for help against IS jihadists?

Turkey ruling party meets to agree Davutoglu as PM

Kuwait nabs suspected Al-Nusra Front financier

Hamas armed wing declares end to truce talks in Cairo

Tribal clashes kill dozens of people in troubled Darfur

Dubai real estate giant to repay debt four years ahead

Egypt hopes power cuts could ease next week

Jihadist beheading of US journalist sparks worldwide revulsion

Iran provides ‘advice’ to Kurds fighting IS jihadists in Iraq

Power cuts and petrol shortages: Life grows increasingly difficult in Libya

Suspected attack by Kurdish rebels kills one Turkish soldier

UN launches huge aid operation in northern Iraq

Israel pounds Gaza as mourners cry ‘revenge’

Outgoing first lady breaks silence on ‘falsehoods’ against Turkey President

Ex CIA boss: journalist's killing 'first IS terrorist attack against US

Scores of armed Yemen rebels boost positions in capital

Sinai jihadists punish supporters of Egypt army with decapitation

Germany ready to support Iraq Kurds in battle against ‘barbaric’ IS

Iran’s 'reformist' science minister sacked

Turkey assures Ocalan Kurdish peace process will press ahead

Hollande: international situation ‘most serious’ since 2001

Israeli minister: ‘Deif deserves to die’

German minister accuses Qatar of financing IS

US hits back at criticism of Ferguson racial unrest

Jihadists to US: stop air strikes or we will behead second reporter

Temporary Gaza ceasefire goes up in smoke

Islamic State in Syria: Not few brainwashed people but whole army

Egypt to US: Show us how you deal with unrest in Ferguson

Turkey seeks to revive peace talks with Iraq Kurdish rebels

Tit-for-tat attacks break Gaza ceasefire

Huthi rebels cook up ‘armed coup’ in Yemen capital

Flood of weapons in South Sudan: Who’s not to blame?

After morale boosting victory, Iraq forces intensify attacks on IS

Multi-national Arab Bank on trial for supporting terror

Violence-hit Libya gradually boosting oil output