The impact of ilisu dam on duhok water intake on tigris river
Kurdistan Region Government – Iraq
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific
University of Duhok, Faculty of Engineering and
Applied science /School of Planning
The impact of Ilisu Dam on Duhok Water
Intake on Tigris river
By: Ramadhan Hamza
Supervisor: Ass. Prof. Dr. Maha Al Ghaban
The River Tigris
The River Tigris, which is the second-largest river in western Asia,
originates near Lake Hazar (elevation 1150 m) in eastern Turkey.
The Tigris is fed by several tributaries in Turkey. It forms the
Turkish–Syrian boundary for 32 km, and crosses into Iraq. Within
Iraq, the Tigris has several tributaries which contribute significantly
to the water potential of the river. The combined Euphrates and
Tigris rivers are named Shatt-al-Arab, forming a river almost a
kilometer wide and 190 km long. Iran is a co-riparian of the Tigris–
Euphrates system by virtue of her contribution to the River Tigris
via the lesser Zab, Diyala and Karun rivers.
What is Water Security?
accessibility to the resource in
time and space.
2. Ability to utilize the resource to achieve
3. Ability to sustainably manage the water
resources to ensure the right quantity and
What is Water Security? Con’td
4. Ensure that competing demands are
balanced (Irrigation, water supply and
sanitation, hydropower, environmental
5. Ensure that water sharing agreement
with full participation of all stakeholders is in
6. Ensure that the environment is protected
and pollution is prevented.
•The proposed Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River in Southeastern Turkey is one of
the world’s most controversial hydropower projects. If built, it will displace up to
70,000 people, drown the 10,000 year-old city of Hasankeyf, and destroy
valuable biodiversity. Iraq’s government has also expressed concerns that
Turkey will use the Ilisu Dam to control the flow of the Tigris to the detriment of
the downstream countries.
•Because of the serious problems and strong opposition European funders
pulled out of the Ilisu Project in 2002 and again in 2009. In July 2009, European
export credit agencies for the first time withdrew from a project which they had
already approved over social and environmental concerns.
•The Turkish government announced that it planned to continue the
construction of the Ilisu Dam after Western funders pulled out, and the affected
people continue their resistance. International Rivers supports the campaign
against the project, and in particular monitors China’s involvement.
• Turkish Storages
– 92BCM on Euphrates –
17BCM on Tigris (planned)
• Syrian Storages
– 14.5BCM on Euphrates
– 1.5BCM from Tigris (Previous
Why is water so important, how much
freshwater is available to us, and how much
of it are we using?
What causes freshwater shortages, and what
can be done about this problem?
What are the advantages and disadvantages
of withdrawing construction of Ilisu dam?
How Water Security in Iraq is being
•Intensive construction of dams.
•Wars, particularly Iraq-Iran war and the
occupation of Kuwait.
•Draining of the marshes.
•Pollution and degradation of water quality.
•High rate of water use (twice the population
How Water Security in Iraq is being
•Lack of long term
water sharing agreement
between riparian countries, Iraq, Syria,
Turkey & Iran.
•Unsustainable approach in managing water
resources in the upper reaches of Euphrates
and Tigris rivers basins.
What is this topic about?
Water Conflicts is the second of the ‘resources’
It examines the range of conflicts associated
with the supply and demand patterns of the
fundamental resource of water.
Water supplies and quality vary globally, and
actual and potential conflicts arise from the gap
between growing demands and diminishing
The risks of water insecurity
What are the potential implications of an increasingly ‘water insecure’
Water supply problems
Increasing water shortages
may be more important
than energy shortagesbecause there is no
Of this precious resource by either
diverting the actual river, or using
canals . Long carried out at a small
scale but increasingly over larger
distances, and even transboundary
Where demand exceeds supply
and no effective management
operates, then there will be
conflicts between the various
The conflicts between nation
states, despite the international
agreement called the Helsinki
Rules designed to create more
equitable use of water extending
Human influences on water supply and scarcity
Humans affect the hydrological cycle at
many points of flows and storage:
Blue water flow is the visible part of the
hydrological system: surface flows and
then recharging aquifers
Green water flow is water intercepted,
stores and released by vegetation by
evaporation and transpiration
Grey water is polluted water
Supply can be from:
In the UK 2/3 of supply is from surface
and 1/3 from groundwater, with regional
Freshwater is effectively a finite resource
since only about 1% of freshwater is easily
available for human use.
The water footprint indicates how much is
required by consumers- and in an
increasingly globalised world, the footprint
of someone in a country like the UK will not
be just local as so many products using
water will have been produced elsewhere!
•International conflicts i.e. basin crosses
•Internal conflicts ie within a country
•Conservation versus exploitation
Reductions because of:
•Impact of climate change
PRESSURE POINT- ie
need for management.
This is shown spatially as
a ‘hotspot’ of conflict,
see map on next slide.
Pressure and hence
tension and conflict may
be over surface flow
Dams and diversions and
loss of wetlands are
Present and potential water conflict
As water supply decreases, tensions will increase as different players try to access common water supplies
Many conflicts are transboundary in nature, either between states or countries
River basins currently in dispute
Iraq + Syria concerns that
Turkey’s GAP project will divert
between the 7 US
states and Mexico it
flows through. The
river is so overused,
that it no longer
reaches the sea!.
River basins at risk in the future
Large International drainage basins
Insert Figure 2.11 page 47
Note: although there have been rising tensions
globally, many areas demonstrate effective
management to diffuse the situation and create
more equitable and sustainable demand-supply
balance, such as the Mekong River Committee,&
the Nile River Initiative
Nile hotly disputed
between Ethiopia and
Sudan ,who control its
headwaters, and Egypt .
The Aral Sea, an
inland drainage basin,
once the world’s 4th
largest inland lake has
shrunk sine the 1950s
after the 2 rivers
feeding it: the Amu
Dayra and Syr Darya
were diverted for
By 2007 the sea was
10% of original volume
and split into 2 lakes.
The ex soviet states
are in conflict:
Water transfers- a quick fix?
Examples of existing schemes
Lesotho to South Africa:
Lesotho Highlands Water
Turkey to Israel by tanker
Turkey to Israel undersea
Austrian Alps to Spain +
Greece by pipeline
South-North transfer- China
Ob to the Aral Sea
NAWAPA Alaska to California
Water conflicts and the future
What are the possible conflicts and solutions to increasing demands for water?
This section looks at 4 themes, and the table below summarises three scenarios for the future
Trends in water demand globally and locally
Responses to need to increasing water supply and the issues these strategies raise
The role of technology in water supply
The cost of water will increase
Water consumption will increase resulting in declining stores
Food transfers will mitigate shortage of water in areas where agriculture declines
Demand will outstrip supply
The proportion of the world’s population without access to clean water will increase
Food insecurity and migration will increase
Conflicts of water supplies (intra and inter state) become more likely
Agricultural and household water prices will double in the developed world and triple
in the developing world
Global water consumption will fall, although the gap between per capita use will
Green water flows will increase
Improvements in water harvesting and farming techniques allow food yields to
increase whilst water consumption declines
From: 2002 International Food Policy and Research Institute future models
Water Players and decision makers
Different players have conflicting views on water insecurity
One player may have quite complex views; most Governments will have departments
wanting conservation as opposed to development
You need to identify the ‘stakeholders’ in any particular case study, and then the role of
the ‘gatekeepers’ who wield power. The next slide shows a classification of players
Political: water is
a human need
•Regional & local
Social: water is a human right
•Consumers land owners,
health officials, NGOs like
World Bank & IMF
Photograph of Aral Sea
with grounded tanker
Responses: Management strategies
Water conflicts can be managed in a range of different ways
There is a spectrum of different management strategies
Some are sustainable as they balance ecological and human needs
Strategies rely on technology?
A characteristic or
state whereby the
needs of the present
and local population
can be met without
ability of future
populations in other
locations to meet
Often do not
Obstacles to sustainable
•Climate change uncertainty and
•Natural variability of water
•Pressures caused by human
activities and rapid growth of
transition economies towards a
•Increased water demands
•Gross inefficiencies in use
•Poor existing quality of supply
across huge areas of world
•Access to appropriate technology
Hard and soft management
How to meet the challenge of the need for more water?
Traditional ‘hard’ engineering
Dams; currently 845000 of which 5000 classed
as megadams. The aim is to increase natural
storage capacity by artificial reservoirs. Rivers
most at risk at present: Yangtze, Amazon,
Danube and many in the Himalayas
Channels, seen in most arid/semi arid countries
whatever their economic status, eg Jonglei Canal
Pipelines eg Australia and California Aqueduct
and snowy Mountains scheme Australia
Desalination plants eg in Middle East
Recharging schemes for depleted aquifers
Newer hard technologies
•Tankers to transport water eg turkey to israel
•Osmosis membranes filtering salt from brackish
water eg Israel (the Ashkelon plant produces 15% of
domestic demand). Also in California, Spain and
•Fertigation: fertilser and water drip feeding of crops,
as in Israel
Softer more environmentally and
Water conservation eg targeted drip
irrigation on plants in Ethiopia,
includes water harvesting
Water restoration eg Northern Aral
Sea, and on smaller scale river Colne
Integrated drainage basin
management , especially if bottom up
and community involved.
The 4 Rs: ie an attitudinal fix:
Reduce, Respect, Reuse, Renew.....
Specific Technologies seen as
appropriate /intermediate with less
•Water harvesting of grey water eg Belize
•Micro dams serving villages eg Nepal
•Water meters to reduce use eg UK
•Composting latrines – seen in National Trust
properties in UK to Mumbai slums!
Water Conflicts overview
Water like energy is a fundamental need but not
Factors influencing geography of supply:
Physical-surface, groundwater, desalinisation
Human: demand, management, mismanagement
Increasing demand not matched by supply=
Implications for human well being- which is why it
beingis named in the MDGs
Demand from various users
Water resources are often transboundary
Water stress and scarcity are projected to increase
•Climate change will make some areas more arid
and rainfall more unreliable
•Glacial water sources will reduce due to climate
•Unsustainable use of some supplies will decrease
their quality and quantity
•Demand will rise due to population and economic
•Water wars will lead to winners and losers in water
Potential conflicts=high both local & international
Resource use often exceeds recharge capacity
leading to long term degradation
Future is in doubt because of unsustainable use+
Vulnerable populations most at risk
Management strategies to ensure supply require
cooperation of many different players = changes in
way water is valued & used
Therefore, there are alternative
It all depends on the decisions the
and climate change, population
trends, energy security,
superpower politics, bridging the
development gap etc…
Energy and Water: Solving Both Crises Together:
Water and energy are the two most fundamental ingredients of modern
We consume massive quantities of water to generate energy, and we consume
massive quantities of energy to deliver clean water
Peak Oil is topical. Peak Water or ‘Blue Gold’ is less thought about.
There are tensions between the two:
water restrictions are
hampering solutions for
particularly rising prices,
are curtailing efforts to
supply more clean
An issue in energy rich states ,which are semi arid/arid: to sell cheap oil
or keep to power desalinisation plants
Water is needed to generate energy. Energy is needed to deliver water.
Both resources are limiting the other—and both may be running short. Is
there a way out?
Core Case Study: Water Conflicts in
the Middle East - A Preview
of the Future
Many countries in
the Middle East,
which has one of
the world’s highest
rates, face water
Water Conflicts in the Middle East: A
Preview of the Future
Most water in this dry region comes from
Nile, Jordan or Tigris rivers.
Countries are in disagreement as to who has
Currently, there are no cooperative
agreements for use of 158 of the world’s 263
water basins that are shared by two or more
AVAILABILITY, AND RENEWAL
Water keeps us alive, moderates climate,
sculpts the land, removes and dilutes wastes
and pollutants, and moves continually
through the hydrologic cycle.
Only about 0.02% of the earth’s water supply
is available to us as liquid freshwater.
AVAILABILITY, AND RENEWAL
population sizes and
shares of the world’s
AVAILABILITY, AND RENEWAL
Some precipitation infiltrates the ground and
is stored in soil and rock (groundwater).
Water that does not sink into the ground or
evaporate into the air runs off (surface runoff)
into bodies of water.
The land from which the surface water drains into
a body of water is called its watershed or
AVAILABILITY, AND RENEWAL
We currently use more than half of the
world’s reliable runoff of surface water and
could be using 70-90% by 2025.
About 70% of the water we withdraw from
rivers, lakes, and aquifers is not returned to
Irrigation is the biggest user of water (70%),
followed by industries (20%) and cities and
Stress on the World’s River Basins
Comparison of the amount of water available
with the amount used by humans.
Who Should Own and Manage
There is controversy over whether water
supplies should be owned and managed by
governments or by private corporations.
European-based water companies aim to
control 70% of the U.S. water supply by
buying up water companies and entering into
agreements with cities to manage water
TOO LITTLE FRESHWATER
Cities are outbidding farmers for water
supplies from rivers and aquifers.
Countries are importing grain as a way to
reduce their water use.
More crops are being used to produce
Our water options are:
Get more water from aquifers and rivers,
desalinate ocean water, waste less water.
USING DAMS AND RESERVOIRS TO
SUPPLY MORE WATER
Large dams and reservoirs can produce
cheap electricity, reduce downstream
flooding, and provide year-round water for
irrigating cropland, but they also displace
people and disrupt aquatic systems and
cause dispute between riparian countries.
Case Study: The Mosul Dam Basin – an
Lake Powell, is
reservoir in the
It hosts one of
plants and the
The Technology Spectrum
solutions in water
and complex possible?
Production of water in Duhok city
from Khrabdeem intake on Tigris river
Average production of water 2010 =129522.9
Average production of water 2011 =176264
Average production of water 2012 =191993
The Past and future demand water for
Apply strict national water management
strategy based on IWRM principles.
• Negotiate long term water sharing
• Adopt basin-wide & regional approaches to
mitigate and adapt to climate changes.
1. The Ilisu Dam is a major component of an integrated water
development scheme planned in the1970’s for the upper Tigris
watershed. The goal of this scheme is to provide economic development
within the region through the generation of electricity and large scale
2. The construction and operation of the Ilisu Dam by itself, will
significantly affect the hydrology of the Tigris River. It will alter the
seasonal flow pattern by capturing all except large flood flows in the
spring and releasing them in the fall and it will create large daily flow
fluctuations whose influence would be felt more than 65 km downstream
at the Iraq and Syrian border.
3. The minimum flow level downstream. However, it does recommend an
operational policy be adopted to release a minimum monthly average
flow of 60 m3/s at the downstream border during operation of the dam
5. The operation of the Ilisu Dam in combination with diversions from the
future downstream Cizre project would probably significantly reduce
summer flows in Syria and Iraq below historic levels.
6. Future depletions of the Tigris river flows for planned irrigated agriculture both
upstream and downstream of Ilisu would further reduce these flows.
7. Capturing of coarse sediment in the reservoir will tend to induce scouring of
the river channel downstream, lowering the river level and possibly lowering the
adjacent water table as well.
8. High levels of nutrients from sewage and agricultural runoff will cause
eutrophication and anoxic conditions for downstream countries Iraq and Syria
with anoxic conditions that generate significantly higher levels of greenhouse gas
methane emissions than occur from the existing landscape and will probably
mobilize heavy metals to downstream .
9. It does not appear that the proponents of the Ilisu dam have completed the
kind of technical studies reasonably expected to evaluate environmental impacts
for a major project of this type that should include hydraulic modelling, reservoir
water quality modelling, river and reservoir sedimentation modelling, and dam