Low water level in Dukan lake causes cancellation of irrigation project

Low water level  in Dukan lake causes cancellation of irrigation project

[caption id="attachment_706" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Water Resources Dept. Director...Photo: Muhana al-Shamari"]Water Resources Dept. Director...Photo: Muhana al-Shamari[/caption] Dukan Lake has experienced a relatively large decrease of stock water which resulted in the cancellation of an irrigation project for Kirkuk and Hawija. By: Muhana al-Shamari Dukan Lake has experienced a relatively large decrease of stock water which resulted in the cancellation of an irrigation project for Kirkuk and Hawija.  Shahab Hakim Nadir, Water Resources Department director in Kirkuk said, “The highest level of stock water in the Dukan Lake can be 511 m2 to 514 m2.  It’s 480.90 m2 right now, decreased by 21 m2.  The stock is 700 m2, but we can’t get any benefit from it.” Last year, the water level was 484 m2, four meters higher than it is now.  Nadir believed that the decrease had several reasons including “fewer water resources, not storing water, and low level of rain in the winter months have caused the problem.”  He added, “the Dukan dam receives water from Iran and Iraq.  It has been likened to a big irrigation store for Kirkuk since it has the ability to store 6.6 billion cubic meters.” Nadir stated that they had two irrigation projects at present, the Kirkuk Irrigation Project which includes 350 acres of land and the Hawija Project for 150 acres, both of which depend upon Dukan Lake.  However in the past ten years, the level of water in Dukan Lake has dropped to 490 m2.  The average rate of rain is 232 mm, but only a mere 100 mm in Kirkuk and nearby districts.  Nadir was hopeful that the melting mountain snows would be a good water source for the region. Shirin and Plakana Dams have been used to irrigate large amounts of agricultural lands.  Nadir explained that Shirin Dam has been used to irrigate 4000 acres of land, and Palkana Dam up to 2000 acres, but the promised canals have yet to be completed.  The project is under the regional reconstruction budget of Kirkuk city. The lands used to be irrigated by the Palkana and Shirin Dams amounts to some 700.000 m2. Nadir also said, “we are about to finish the canal project to Palkana and Shirin.  We have other projects as well.  We expect to build more dams after the International Water Policy Conference.  We hope that the Ministry of Water Resources permits us to plan for and to build more dams.” Regarding the effect of the water crisis on agriculture Nadir explained, “it has a direct effect.  For example, Kirkuk and Hawija Irrigation Project depends on Dukan Lake.  Since there wasn’t enough water, we released 30 square meters of water per minute for drinking purposes.  However, that still made the Kirkuk and Hawija Irrigation Project impossible since there was not enough water stored in Dukan Lake for the project.” Hawija people are famous for their winter products such as wheat, barley, corn, beans, and winter fruits.  They also have summer products like yellow corn, store-quality tomato, cucumber, cotton, pepper, eggplant, and squash.  Hawija also has palm trees.  Agronomist Major Hussein Mohammad talked about a solution to the water crisis.  “We tried to use underground water; we’ve dug some artesian wells for the same purpose,” he said.  Regarding the dams he also stated that “reducing the Dukan water level has a negative effect because we need to irrigate our products both this month and next.” The region’s geography has a huge effect on water storage.  For example, making dams in Turkey and Iran was an obstacle for Iraq’s rivers.  The low rate of rain is yet another obstacle.
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