Out now: a new Water, Peace and Security (WPS) paper!
Iraq’s water situation is increasingly dire, putting pressure on the central government, governorate authorities, and citizens. Declining quantity and quality of water, outdated and damaged infrastructure, and inefficient water use uncover deficiencies in existing water governance.
The current state of the water sector needs to be understood against the background of Iraq’s tumultuous history. Autocratic regimes prioritizing power politics over good governance, consecutive wars, foreign military interventions, and political instability have put pressure on Iraq and prevented the country from effectively addressing water challenges in the past decades.
This Water, Peace and Security (WPS) paper looks at how water resources are currently governed and managed across Iraq’s 19 governorates. Zooming in on current practices and challenges uncovers fragmented, outdated, and ill-suited structures, but also allows for an initial assessment of intervention options to achieve more effective and efficient water governance.
The paper identifies and analyses two major factors undermining good water governance in Iraq: (1) an insufficiently implemented water allocation framework; and (2) a dysfunctional decentralisation structure. Nevertheless, these structural hurdles offer opportunities to improve the current situation and thus mitigate water-related security challenges. Specifically, developing and implementing an effective and transparent water governance system is essential for a fair and equitable allocation of water resources.
Some of the proposed solutions encourage updating the existing water allocation framework with current data, creating a flexible system that facilitates the reshuffling of provincial and sectoral water priorities according to changing needs; and improving governorates’ accountability by delineating clear roles, powers and responsibilities between the different levels of governance.
Authors: Tobias von Lossow, Irina Patrahau, Laura Birkman, Kendra Kock, Susanne Schmeier and Dorith Kool. Contributors: Alyssa Offutt and Eva Struycken
Photo credit: Aerial view of Mosul Dam, Wikimedia Commons