Iraqi Delegation from the Ministries of Water Resources and Agriculture Visits ICBA
Dr. Ahmed Al Sharif, Deputy Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), welcomed the delegation from the Ministries of Water Resources and Agriculture of Iraq during their visit to the ICBA headquarters in Dubai on 30 June 2013. The Iraqi delegation included Eng. Hassan Hamid Almousawi from the Ministry of Water Resources, Eng. Yasir Ammar from the Survey Authority of the Water Resources Ministry and Dr. Iman Sahib Salman from the Water and Soil Management Department of the Ministry of Agricultre.
Dr. Al Sharif welcomed the visiting delegation to their second country the United Arab Emirates and stressed on the importance of their participation in the MAWRED (Modeling and Monitoring Agriculture and Water Resources Development) project. Dr. Al Sharif highlighted ICBA’s important role in supporting the Arab and Islamic countries in facing the problem of salinzation. Both parties discussed various aspects of collaborations and had concluded to work jointly on getting a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both parties between the respective ministries and ICBA with regards to the MAWRED project collaboration.ICBA has developed regional and country-scale monitoring and modeling of groundwater, soil moisture and surface resources, as well as land cover and irrigation water use. This program harnesses cutting edge space-based earth observations and land surface modeling to bring new insight to water and agriculture resource assessment in the region. Outputs from the modeling include regional water balances, data on groundwater, soil moisture and surface water levels, climate change predictions of water availability, and drought monitoring. At the national scale, data outputs are being developed which will include ground- and surface-water resources levels, land-cover and crop-type information as well as values for irrigation water use.
Dr. Rachael McDonnell, Director of the MAWRED project at ICBA, said, “As part our USAID project we work in three key countries where we do detailed work: Tunisia, Iraq and Yemen.We are just finishing our work in Tunisia and we are starting to work in Iraq.” Dr. McDonnell added that she has been working with the special advisor to the deputy minister for water resources. The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources and the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture have sent a delegation from to meet with ICBA to talk about the stages that those ministries are at, their data need, and how MAWRED can meet those needs. Dr. McDonnell concluded, “We talked about many different ways of helping fight the problems of salinity, poor water data, and irrigation agricultural. We have agreed on a set of actions to take this project forward and we look for long and fruitfull collaboration with them.”