Restoring water supply in Iraq

Dec 2016

A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) project is restoring the water supply to the once fertile Ninewa Plains for the first time since the Islamic State of the Levant (ISIL) took the area in 2014. Through the cash-for-work component of the project, FAO is employing more than 500 local labourers, to clean the main canal of the north Al Jazeera irrigation scheme.

The work will not only allow farming activities to get back underway, but is providing much-needed income for families (around 3 000 people) through money from daily wages. Once seasonal vegetable production, which relies on this water supply, recommences in northern Ninewa, up to 200,000 casual labourers will find work each vegetable season.

The Al Jazeera irrigation scheme in Iraq once supplied 250,000 hectares of land with water for agriculture, livestock and domestic use. The main canal fed a network of smaller canals, 100 of which were damaged by ISIL, filled with debris and contaminated by explosive devices. Bridges were also blown up and the damaged pumping station, which provides water to the canals from Mosul Dam, is working under capacity and has caused extreme water shortages.

Author: FAO/Iraq