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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture


Governance in Iraq is in a state of flux at present. The Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) is the bulk water supplier for the country and responsible for the whole national water planning, operating twenty-five major dams, hydropower stations and barrages and 275 irrigation pumping stations serving almost the entire irrigated area. The MWR comprises five commissions and eleven companies, employing 12 000 staff. Making the MWR functional again in the aftermath of the wars and collapse of the previous regime is a top priority and measures to achieve this are under way. Other key institutions related to water in Iraq include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, the Ministry of Environment and other ministries and local governorates concerned with economic and human resources. Higher educational institutions could provide scientific support on water issues and potential human resources for the government. A few NGOs are springing up, such as the Iraq Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring the Mesopotamian marshlands (UNDG, 2005).

Policies and legislation

Water resources development and management plans were drawn up in the 1960s and 1980s. These studies included a comprehensive and detailed analysis of needs, opportunities and plans for the development and management of Iraq’s water resources. Investments in water resources development over the years have generally followed the plans outlined in these documents. They have not been updated or revisited since their publication, but the population has grown substantially, much project development has taken place, multiple wars have been conducted, institutions and regimes have changed, and regional and world markets for products have become greatly altered (FAO, 2004).

A Law on Irrigation (No. 12 of 1995) and another on Environment (No. 3 of 1997) have been enacted (ESCWA, 2004).


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