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Parliament begins second reading of Bill on Conservation of Water

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 10 March presided over an ordinary sitting for the second reading of the Bill on Conservation of Water, and MP Hevidar Ahmad (KDP) gave a speech about the environment. The reading of the Bill will continue on 16 March.

Mr. Ahmad discussed environmental problems and the dangers to Kurdistan Region, Iraq, the wider region and the world, weather changes, rising temperatures and sea levels. He said, “Kurdistan Region imports 70 percent of our food, and our food security is in great danger. Yes, more climate changes are inevitable and we must prepare ourselves for these changes."

He continued, "It is expected that in 2050 640 million people will lose their homes due to rising sea levels. Some towns in Europe and Asia will be completely submerged, which could force one billion people to migrate" he said.

"In 2020 the United Nations warned that by 2050, the shortage of drinking water or water scarcity will reach 52%."

"The UN report describes water scarcity as a great threat, and that ‘the impact of water scarcity will be greater in developing and arid countries’ and describes this as ‘very dangerous’ and named Iraq as a country whose rivers the Tigris and Euphrates will be affected. Some local experts expect that by 2040 both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers will be dry."

Mr. Ahmad also gave information and statistics on rain-dependent agricultural land that is now destroyed, and land for livestock farming. "The world environment report on West Asia writes that Iraq is the fifth most sensitive country in the world in terms of the threat to its provision of food and water," he said.

Mr. Ahmad continued, “A scientific conference on the environment should be held with the support of the United Nations, our international friends and universities in Kurdistan Region, and there should be a plan for it now. "A conference on the environment, supported by the United Nations, our international friends and universities in the Kurdistan Region, should be held to create a plan, after 10 years of migration of Iraqi citizens from the south and some parts of central Iraq to Kurdistan Region."

"We need to increase water production, both as a source of income and to provide water for central and south of Iraq," he said.

Then the legislative and municipalities committees held the second reading of the Bill on Conservation of Water. Seven of the bill’s articles were read, with MPs giving their comments, critiques and suggestions in detail.

Speaker Faiq proposed that per Article 48 (paragraph 2) of Parliament’s Internal Rules of Procedure, the remaining articles of the Bill will be read at the sitting of 16 March, which will be the anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja. The majority of MPs voted in favour of postponing the rest of the bill’s second reading.

The Bill on Conservation of Water has 28 articles and its purpose is to protect water project, conserve water and water networks, protect the environment, provide clean water to the public equitably, protect public health, the economic infrastructure and reduce waste of public resources.