“It’s like doomsday,” describes Halgurd Muhammad the scene in Tuz Khurmantu, a town about 70 km south of Kirkuk, as people carrying water containers, pots and barrels, rush to get drinking water from a reservoir.
The rush to get drinking water in the scorching heat of 50 °C (122 °F) has been going on for several days due to a power shortage at a pumping station.
What happens here in Tuz Khurmatu is a disaster, and no one is taking responsibility for the issue
Halgurd owns a water tanker and delivers a load for 15,000 Iraqi Dinars (about $12,65). He said: “What happens here in Tuz Khurmatu is a disaster, and no one is taking responsibility for the issue. They keep saying that they will fix it, but nothing happens. I get about 200 phone calls [from residents] asking for a water delivery, but I don’t have the time [for all of them].”
Halgur added that “people have no choice but to buy water. Some tanker owners take 20 to 30 thousand Dinars for one load.”
Halgurd has delivered 100 loads of water in two days in two days alone to the town’s majority-Kurdish neighbourhood Komar, where he himself resides.
Najim Hashem, a resident of the town’s Binar neighbourhood, said: “I have never seen anything like this in my life. In this heat we have to rush to get water.”
Those who are financially well off, can afford paying for drinking water be tinkered to their homes, but those aren’t have to take pots and water containers to a reservoir to take water home.
The water shortage comes at a time when a heat wave sweeps over Iraq. Temperatures reach 52 °C (125.6 °F) in some regions, according to government records. In Salahuddin province, where Tuz Khurmatu lies, temperatures have reached 49 and 50 on Wednesday and Thursday.
The problem is at the pumping station and we are fixing it
Issam Naqi, head of water management in Tuz Khurmatu, told KirkukNow: “The problem is at the pumping station and we are fixing it. We are waiting for some equipment we need that has to arrive from Baghdad.”
“The Kurdish neighbourhoods are the most affected. As authorities, we tanker water for them once in a few days,” added Naqi.
But Najim Hashem, the town’s resident, says that there is discrimination and that only certain people get water tankered for them.