“Dirty and stinking” water delivered to residents of Tuz Kkhurmatu

Dirt and tires inside the water project of Tuz Kkhurmatu district of Salahaddin Province, main source of water for residents. Photos circulated on social networks

By Laila Ahmad in Salahaddin

Drinking water in Tuz Kkhurmatu of Salahaddin Province is mudy, “dirty and stinking” according to citizens and administrative officials, but some citizens are forced to use it.

For more than a week, muddy, brown and smelly water has been piped to all neighborhoods in the central district of Tuz Kkhurmatu, while according to scientific standards, drinking water should be tasteless, odorless and colorless.

“The drinking water has been dirty for a long time, but it has been so dirty for more than a week. It smells bad, it is muddy and dirty,” said Mohammed ramazan, a resident of Brayati neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu.

He says they have to buy water by tanker for daily chores and bathing, and separately buy bottled water for drinking, which costs each family tens of thousands of dinars monthly.

A tanker of 3,500 liters clean water costs more than 15,000 dinars (USD10), which fills two roof tanks, and any family that does not use the water of the district project, buys water at least twice a week.

“Poor people cannot buy water all the time because our drinking water is always dirty and unfit for drinking, so some families are forced to use the dirty and smelly water,” Ramazan said.

 The water project of Tuz Khurmatu is one of the important projects in the region, which provides drinking water for over 200,000 people in the Tuz Khurmatow district, as well as the Kifri district of the Garmian administration in the Sulaymaniyah province.

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Cleaning of Tuz Khurmatu water project, Salahaddin, July 2023. Media of Salahaddin Water Department

Local officials confirmed that the water of the project is not drinkable and they are trying to clean the project.

Ismail Mustafa, director of the water supply in Tuz Kkhurmatu, told KirkukNow that all the canals of the drinking water sources into Tuz Kkhurmatu are dirty and have an unpleasant smell.

"Citizens are getting dirty water and the water is not useful for drinking and consumption,” Mustafa affirmed.

Last year, citizens protested against drinking water pollution more than once, demanding that the water project to be cleaned.

The director of the water department said they have been trying to solve the problem of dirty water and clean it with disinfectants and filters to remove the bad smell of the water.

The multi-ethnic district of Tuz Khurmatu home to 125,000 Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs, located 70 kilometers south of Kirkuk and part of Salahaddin province, is the only disputed town of the province and one of the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad.

The predominantly Sunni-Muslim Arab province of Salahaddin, about 135 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, once home for Saddam Hussein, is under the control of Iraq's Shia-led paramilitary the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, known as al-Hashid al-Shabi.

The Tuz Khurmatu water project supplies the districts of Tuz and Kifri and the districts and sub-districts of Jabara, Sangaw, Amerli and Qara Tapah, in addition to hundreds of villages with drinking water, but the project's water does not reach all these areas.

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