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sources of water—is well understood, existing knowledge of groundwater in Iraq is considered to be too incomplete, outdated and fragmented to provide a basis for strategic water planning.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.

 

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café

Erdogan to EU: Mind your own business!

Syria PM in Iran for talks with key ally

22 Swiss jihadists fighting abroad

#illridewithyou: Australians stand in solidarity with Muslims

Sydney siege 'lone wolf' or IS-led attack?

EU support UN efforts for Aleppo ceasefire

Saudi policeman killed in Riyadh hostage-taking

Saudi king receives Jordan monarch

Palestinians push UN bid to end Israeli occupation

Hostages held in Sydney cafe, Islamic flag held up

Hamas stages show of strength to mark 27th anniversary

France 'neutralised' 200 jihadists in Sahel region of West Africa

Kerry in Rome ahead of Palestinian push at UN

Drive-by shooting kills two Egypt policemen in Sinai Peninsula

Libya pro-government forces push back Islamist fighters

Wave of arrests targets Gulen supporters in Turkey

Security Council fails and Bashir declares victory!

UAE calls on Arabs to invest in future amid ‘rapid changes’

Dawn collision kills more than 10 Egypt fishermen in Gulf of Suez

ICC prosecutor suspends investigations into Darfur war crimes

Libya Islamists form new coalition ahead of expected assault

Sudan minister announces new army offensive against rebels

Yemen troops kill five Qaeda suspects disguised as women

Sea of devotees descends on Karbala in defiance of jihadist threats

Palestinian shot after throwing acid at Israeli family

Saudi to build Africa’s tallest building in Morocco