Iraqi water resources, Immigration and Sustainable development

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Sustainable Development, هجرة جماعية, ثقافة المستقبل
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By: Dhea Al-Sarai and Sana’a Al-Ghareeb
Water retreated back and left the rivers and streams, the immigration of water did not stop at the end of rivers and small streams even wells were affected by the disaster. Water levels became lower which caused the increase in the rates of salt in the underground water, so it has become an urgent need to dig deeper and deeper to find good drinkable water.
History repeats itself man in Iraq started to search for resources of water as if in the ancient times. Farmers and villagers started to follow water like their fathers and grandfathers who used to do this back in history. This resulted in the collapse of a long termed population that might be invisible now, but very dangerous, and points out serious issues that will appear in the near future.
Water causes the collapse of the settler population

This collapse in the settlement of the population appeared first in 2006 as an insignificant sign that nobody paid attention to. But it grew slowly during the following years and was accompanied by the process of reducing Iraq’s share of river water. A giant wave swept through the life of the farmer, represented by the entry of fruit, vegetables and agricultural products from neighboring countries, which has good quality, and cheap at the same time ,and as a result the Iraqi products will have no chance in competing with.
The farmer has nothing to do but watch how to lose his job and source of living.
24 villages in the province of Wasit, and Maysan, and other 36 in Hilla and Najaf, 44 in Basra and Nasiriyah were abandoned and left to be ruins. Samawah province was sharing the same fate because of water scarcity.
This is only a sample of what we could cover during our investigation of the problem, which seems to have a greater influence since then and it surely needs to be studied in order to contain a clear picture of the impact of the scarcity of water on the population.
The Government does not have a specialist to study the waves of immigration that occurred during the few past years since 2006 in the rural areas of Iraq and the reasons behind it and the influences that it causes on both the environment and the society. Such a dangerous phenomena is directly linked to the Ministry of Agriculture which is the first cabinet from which we can get the primary inputs and outputs to reach first-hand knowledge of the numbers of immigrants who left their villages to live in cities and suburbs of nearby cities.
In fact, agricultural productivity for the year 2009,was 36% less than the year 2008, and the provinces that were considered to provide the food basket in Iraq had declined from their previous positions.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture, and for six months, was unable to fulfill its obligations to the farmers and could not even study the situation thoroughly. And what made things harder for the Iraqi farmer is the recent decrease of the prices of crops, wheat and barley to the half, a decision that resulted in many problems among which is the bankruptcy of a large number of farmers who planted large areas in the hope that they will get the same prices of the previous years. Now the question is, did the Iraqi government study such a decision well before announcing it?!!!
The Ministry of Trade Files and documents


The Ministry of Trade provided us with statistics on the rates of changes in their records for the movement of citizens from one center of foods supply to another. Despite the difficulty of the work, but the outcome of the registered changes records the movement of 3 million citizens of the counties and villages and rural areas to urban centers in the south during 2007/2008/2009, in central and western region, we get this evident from the records of the Directorate of e-supply centers in the ministry.
In 2008, more than 3.3 million people moved from villages and rural areas and areas far from the Tigris and their tributaries, More than 1500 commercial agency for food processing for local citizens has been closed in many villages in several provinces, including Samawah, which is the province that shows the sever mass immigration from rural areas to cities,
Al Beeda’a, al wehda, Abu na’aja, Alsachet and other villages are examples of such cases. In Nasiriyah province the same thing happened many of the agencies of the ministry of Trade in the villages were canceled, including Oteibah and Mehnawi, Mhoder, Sebta, Aldouchma, and Alchelebia, and this was repeated in most of the provinces of Iraq.
The Silent media and the government negligence

Dr. Jalil Dhari, a Professor in the field of geography of the population, inquires about the reasons that make the media keep silent about such a serious phenomena that might end in the decrease of inhabited areas to be very little in Iraq due to the retreat of the proportions of water into such numbers that are considered to be very little.
water moved towards the inside followed by the villages, and the important thing is the collapse of social structures that have been built since ages and the formation of new structures that need more time to strengthen and start to be prosperous.
The center of Hilla, Babil province,for example, had a population of less than 300 thousand inhabitants two years ago, but now Ministry of Trade registers show that the citys population has increased and doubled to 500 thousand people .The reason is the immigration of people from rural areas that have dried to the city to find other work than agriculture. On the other hand, Wasit province has seen inflation of population in the center of city that reached 22%, according to statistics obtained from the Ministry of Trade as a primary data.
Maysaan province witnessed a displacement of villagers from the countryside to the city center that reached more than 120 thousand people over the last three years. Despite the absence of accurate base demographic information, yet the transition from the centre of food supply to another written in the records of e-trade were of great help for us to check the rates of decrease.
Impact of population displacement
Dr. Jawad al-Waeli, the Director of the office of Urban and Regional Planning illustrates the effects of this immigration, and the dimensions in addition to the reasons .According to him the immigration that hit Iraq during the seventies resulted in the marriage of traditions between the urban and the rural society as a result, the rural traditions overwhelmed the society in the city and controlled the civilized system till this very day trends and traces of such marriage between the urban and the rural are still obviously seen in the Iraqi cities in cretin occasion.
The city became a tribal host, while the tribal leader during the day carries on his work in government departments, universities and various institutions, in the evening and holidays the tribal leader wears traditional Arab robes and sits in the councils of tribal hosts to resolve the conflicts. That has weakened the role of law and strengthened the authority of the alleys in addition to the popular areas and the largest gatherings kin. This situation increased rates of crime without any doubt. In addition, the negative impact was clear on the architecture of the city and its beauty, as well as immigrants enter the profession of grazing sheep, poultry, horses and donkeys in the centers of cities and caused swelling population. It is believed that the lower level of the number of family members is going to be 5 members and the higher level will be 30 members, as in Al- Sader City, Hay al Amil City, Al Shua’la and Rashidiya cities in Baghdad.
Other effects of immigration which started to have greater influence recently is the increase in the budget of spending on the city and it growing needs due to the appearance of new issues like shortage of basic services ,this is shown in the shortage of providing electricity and good water and schooling and many other public services.
Previously, there was a law to restrict the immigration indirectly by through preventing the transfer of people from the provinces to the capital and putting sever procedures like preventing people from moving from their areas of living by registering their names and card numbers in certain offices and records, one of these laws for example is the prohibition of the transfer of ownership of houses and other similar properties (the 57 law). Now it has been easier to move in an uncontrollable way. Other issues that occurred after immigration is the phenomena of random settlement in lands that are prepared for other public issues like gardens, parks and other investments that are not going to be achieved because of the bad usage of such land by the immigrants.
All this has influenced investment and hindered it as long as most of the arrivals from the countryside to the cities believe that the mud is very suitable hostel accommodation, and it is their right to dwell in any place, and reduce the land intended for investments by near cities and suburbs. It is difficult to remove those large random residential areas.
Figures and Governmental reports
Governmental reports confirmed the seriousness of the situation. Ministry of Municipalities indirectly mentioned that “random housing has reached more than 65%, while the regulator housing is less than 43% .Secretariat of the capital of Baghdad, estimated the proportion of trespassing on state land in the capital as being more than 61%.
Ministry of Planning and Finance say “the cost of removal of such illegal ownership of houses built on the lands of governmental projects in Iraq are more than 16 billion U.S. dollars in the first stage and the same for the second phase and proposed time for the two stages might be 5 years”.
Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation do yield a maximum period of 2030 to free the two thirds of the countrys land from their people due to water scarcity and drought in rivers and tributaries and they says “70% of covering the need for water safety to supply water for drinking and other uses will depend on the wells, while the ratio would be 77% of the water needed in agriculture will be provided by wells, and 58% of agriculture will depend on the water provided by rain. Iraq has no obvious policy concerning the water issue at lest in the near future”.
Ministry of Planning and Finance have agreed that agriculture would not constitute 3% of Iraqs resources. It will not be able to fill the need for 5% of the population over the next ten years and costs will rise to cover spending on securing water.
How can solve these problems?
Sustainable development is the only solution to this problem because it gives a clear vision of how to treat water scarcity, through construction projects in water recycling and re-producing certain amounts of percentages of consumers needs.
In addition to this, the investment of water resources and building population depends on agriculture that uses rain and groundwater.
According to this point of view the sustainable development is regarded as a solution to all problems mentioned in the countryside and the city, since it gives solutions based on technology, good governance and society.
Sustainable development means to depend on natural resource availability and the investment and development based on human resource and capital somatotropic, it is a system, which depends on proper planning and scientific solutions to produce for us a logical and scientific solutions.
For example, the government is concerned with providing a good environment to install the villages, which have migrated and put them back to their habitat, depending on the wealth of groundwater which is estimated to enrich large quantities of agriculture for many decades if the government provides the elements of investment for farmers.
Factors like electricity systems, drilling wells and linking mechanisms of modern agriculture and machinery, and sprinkler irrigation, which save water, can be used for agriculture in addition to the provision of residential villages and good transport networks linked.All these can be a key to finding a solution to the problem of water scarcity in Iraq….when and how this is a question for the Iraqi government to answer

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