Though full, Alwand dam insufficient to water Khanaqin

Alwand Dam is full yet still cannot meet demands of Khanaqin residents, Diyala, March 30, 2023. KirkukNow

By Laila Ahmad

The Alwand Dam in Khanaqin district of Diyala province is full, but the news is not good enough, because it does not meet the daily needs of citizens and agriculture in the district for the whole year.

The dam, which has a capacity of 38 million cubic meters, has been overflowing since early February, said Ahmad Wasin, director of the Alwand dam.

"The dam has been full for two months and now contains 38 million cubic meters of water. The water is used for the daily needs of the people of Khanaqin, 2,500 farms and 4,000 hectares of agricultural land," he added.

"We cannot rely on this water alone because it is not sufficient. The Alwand Dam should hold 38 million quartic meters of water and then it will be enough for Khanaqin."

According to a previous investigation by KirkukNow, the residents of Khanaqin need 2,000 cubic meters of water per hour, but they receive 800 cubic meters of water daily from the water project in the district.

The water is used for the daily needs of the people of Khanaqin, 2,500 farms and 4,000 hectares of agricultural land

The problem is due to low rainfall, decreased water level of Alwand Dam and problems of water supply of Sirwan River to the project.

“Every year from May to October, there is a water shortage in Khanaqin, even if the dam is full, because the water decreases quickly and Iran has absorbed the water which does not flow into the dam continuously.”

He added that another problem is that there is no plan to store water for the summer season.

The residents of Khanaqin, northeast of Baghdad, are not getting enough drinking water, partly due to the decrease in the water level of the Alwand Dam and the withdrawal of the Sirwan River, which are the two main sources of water for the Khanaqin project.

Khanaqin relies on the Khanaqin Water Project for drinking water in addition to nine refineries and 27 irrigation wells. The project was built in 1968 when the population of the district was 6,000 people only.

The main feeders of Khanaqin water project are rivers of Alwand and Sirwan, both their level of water is down due to poor rainfall in winter and the dams built its neighbor Iran.

In 2014, the Iraqi government agreed to build a major drinking water project for Khanaqin, although a company took over the implementation of the project, but due to the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS, the work was stopped in the middle of that year.

In May 2021, a report by KirkukNow found out that water storage at Alwand Dam was between 15-18 million m3 while two years ago it was 39 m3. Water flow into Alwand has remarkably dropped down. Only 2-3 m3 in a second flows into the dam while it was gathering 23m3 in 2020.


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