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Iraqi Official Says Euphrates Is Dangerously Low

The Euphrates River near Karbala in mid-May

The Euphrates River near Karbala in mid-May

BAGHDAD -- The Euphrates River is still dangerously low for Iraqis as summertime approaches despite Turkey's recent opening of dams to allow more water to flow to its neighbor, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

Aouni Dhiab Abdullah of Iraq's Water Resources Ministry says Turkey increased the flow of the Euphrates by 130 cubic meters per second this week following a request in March. But Iraqi officials had requested an increase of at least 350 cubic meters per second, he said, or nearly three times the amount allowed so far.

Abdullah said Iraqis need a flow of 700 cubic meters per second in the Euphrates during the summer months.

He added that the river's water level might force the Water Resources Ministry to divert some 200 cubic meters per second from the Tigris River, which could affect the local irrigation infrastructure.