Drought-hit Iraq pushes for ‘nightmare’ desal plant

Published September 13th, 2018

The chief of staff at the Iraqi prime minister’s office has urged Japanese companies to speed up work on the desalination plant intended to provide water to the southern province of Basra, which is witnessing ongoing protests over pressing drought conditions and a lack of water.

The letter from Mahdi al-Aalaq to the Japanese embassy refers to the 199,000m3/d Basra BWRO project awarded to a Hitachi/SIDEM/Arab Contractors team in 2014, but which has still not been completed.

Sources close to the project told GWI that the construction timetable had been pushed back by heavy delays to the civil portion of the contract, and that the client (Iraq’s Ministry of Municipalities) had not been making initial payments, with one source describing the project as “a bit of a nightmare”.

With drought-driven instability on the rise in Iraq, the country is desperate to pursue desalination as an alternative water source.