By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq’s subterranean water reserves have fallen by four billion cubic meters since the beginning of the year, according to an Iraqi official.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Zafer Abdullah, an adviser to Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry, attributed the shrinking reserves to declining amounts of water available from the country’s two main rivers.
Declining reserves, however, would not affect access to drinking water, he said.
According to ministry figures released in June, the country’s total subterranean water reserves currently stand at some 17 billion cubic meters.
The decline has led the Agriculture Ministry to reduce the amount of land under cultivation during the current winter season by 55 percent.
In June, the Iraqi authorities banned farmers from sowing eight summer crops — including such staples as rice, maize and cotton — ostensibly due to the water crisis.
Iraq has seen a steady decline in water drawn from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — two of its main sources of water — due to a recent lack of rainfall.