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River inflows to Iraq's parched plains have already decreased as Turkey builds irrigation and dam projects.
Iraq's minister of water resources says his country will face severe water shortages if agreements are not forged with Ankara over these projects.
Descending from the mountains of southeast Turkey and coursing through Syria and then Iraq before emptying out in the Persian Gulf, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are Iraq's main water source and essential to for agriculture.
But tensions have mounted over the years as Turkey pressed ahead with dam projects to meet its domestic electricity demands.
In turn, this has directly impacted water flows into Iraq.
Measurements of inflows from the border with Turkey in northern Iraq were 50% below average this year, Iraq's water resources minister Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani tells the Associated Press.
This year also saw a reduction in annual rainfall by 50% compared to last year, he says.
Turkey kept saying that its dam projects "will not make any negative impact about water allocations to Iraq, but of course that is not quite true," Al-Hamdani adds.
As long as "there is a dam and there is no international agreement," he says, Iraq's water resources will be greatly impacted.
Adding to the crisis of water shortages, Basra, the country's second largest city, is struggling with polluted rivers and high salinity levels.
Pollution from industrial waste and domestic sewage is contaminating the sources of water in the city.
Successive governments and regimes, since 1997, have failed to tackle the pollution and salinity issues Basra, Al-Hamdani says.
But Iraq's current government has "finally succeed to have a decision" to distribute water in pipelines instead of water channels, the minister explains.
A recent report by the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration found that water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates are decreasing at an "unprecedented rate," that could result in the forced displacement of entire Iraqi communities.
Water shortages, pollution and high levels of salinity lead to many Iraqis falling sick and prompted violent protests in the summer of 2018 across southern Iraq.
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