UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Turkey decided to postpone the filling of a large dam on the Tigris river amid increasing concerns that Iraq may face a major water crisis.
At least 70 percent of Iraq’s water supply comes from rivers such as the Tigris and Euphrates, which run through neighboring Turkey.
Turkey’s capital Ankara had initially started filling the Ilisu Dam but announced June 7 work on the project would halt until July.
Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq said, “As of this moment, Tigris waters are being transferred to Iraq without touching a drop of it in Ilisu.”
The ambassador added, ‘We have shown once again that we can put our neighbor’s needs ahead of our own.”
Water levels in Iraq have decreased by at least 40 percent in the past decade, prompting the Iraqi parliament to call an emergency session to discuss the country’s low water levels and plan of action June 3.