Iraq: strengthening the safety of hydraulic infrastructure

Iraq: strengthening the safety of hydraulic infrastructure

Arabic version

BAGHDAD, 26 July 2021 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Italy are working together, in partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources, to build capacity in the safe management of Iraq’s national hydraulic infrastructure. Bruno Antonio Pasquino, Italy’s Ambassador to Iraq; Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani, Minister of Water Resources; and Kahdim Saher, the Director General of the State Commission of Dams and Reservoirs (SCODAR), spoke about the Dam Safety Skills Development Programme at a kick-off ceremony.

During the welcome remarks, SCODAR’s Director General Saher emphasized how “dams are considered one of the most crucial water facilities in Iraq. They are of strategic importance, especially considering that Iraq is suffering from limited water availability due to decreased rainfall in recent years. Dams are also crucial considering the increasing demand for water and energy in light of the steady population increase and the rebound of different sectors of the Iraqi economy.”

Historically, Iraq’s extensive reservoir network has been at the heart of the country’s socio-economic development strategy. The state’s ability to deliver water as a basic service for irrigation and energy production is a crucial endeavour for Iraq’s stability and its sustainable development. In particular, hydropower is considered one of the main components of Iraq’s energy mix.

Ambassador Pasquino said, “Italy aims to support the Government of Iraq by enhancing the management of the Iraqi national hydraulic infrastructure of the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources through the implementation of this UNIDO project.”

The project, funded by the Government of Italy, will provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Water Resources in the form of skills training, and dam safety system advisory and technology transfer in order to establish a robust dam safety programme. This will enhance the capabilities of Iraqi engineers, technicians and decision-makers who will be able to make informed choices on the safety and effective management of Iraq’s hydraulic infrastructure. The project will pave the way for a National Dam Safety Programme through the establishment of a dam safety section within the SCODAR.

According to Minister Al-Hamdani, thanks to the implementation of this project it will also be possible “to optimize the quality of national hydraulic utilization and projects, which may have a significant impact on the economic, the social, the environmental and even the security aspects of the lives of the Iraqi people. Consequently, the need has become very urgent to develop a national dam safety programme to ensure the safe operation, continuous monitoring and periodic rehabilitation of the existing dams.”

Ambassador Pasquino concluded his remarks by reaffirming Italy’s willingness to support Iraq’s economic and social development via continuous capacity-building of Iraqi institutions through technology transfer and capacity-building programmes. He said, “Friends show up in times of need, of course, but stay on even when the pressing need is over.”

For more information, please contact:

Stavros Papastavrou

Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO