Iraq’s development has been lacking in all areas, including the water sector, which has been deliberately neglected with no dams or other water reservoirs having been built.
|The Wadi Tharthar Flood Prevention Project|
|Bakhma Dam water diversion tunnel|
|The Bakhma Dam Project and its Reservoir|
|The Bekhmel Gorge|
However, the Bakhma Dam project did encounter some opposition. A Kurdish leader objected to the establishment of the dam because his clan resides in the region of Aqrah, east of the Great Zab River. Several villages, his tribe complained, would be flooded with the waters of the dam's lake, erasing the history and traces of those villages and the graves of the former prominent sheiks.
|The Bekhmel Gorge area inundated by Bakhma Dam|
Could the current water crisis change the calculus of the Baghdad and Erbil political elites and permit the dam project to finally move forward?First, the KRG leadership is well aware is that the water crisis in the south can only produce political instability.In neighboring Syria, the severe drought along the Euphrates led to the Arab Spring uprisings there and subsequently helped the Islamic State recruit local farmers and youth.A destabilized Arab Iraq would present a major challenge to the landlocked KRG.