Muqtada al-Sadr. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Sayirun alliance with the Communist Party won the most seats in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary election, has called on the government to urgently address the countries worsening water crisis.
In an official statement issued by his office on Sunday, Sadr warned the Iraqi people will not tolerate the mismanagement of utilities.
“If our [electoral] victory is the beginning for revenge from the Iraqi people, I will not allow that [to happen],” Sadr said.
“I am sure that denying water and electricity to the people will not cause them to kneel,” he said.
“We give the government a few days to look into the issue of water and electricity, or allow us to work to regain our rights,” the Shiite cleric added.
A special session is expected in the Iraqi parliament later on Sunday to discuss the water crisis.
Iraq has been blighted by power outages and a worrying drop in water reserves, provoking a number of protests in southern and central parts of the country.
The water crisis has spread in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as climate change and dams built by Turkey and Iran slow the flow of rivers into the country to a trickle.
There are growing fears up to seven million people could be displaced due to the dramatic fall in water resources.
Kurdistan and Iraq will need to prioritize water management as the resource is under increasing threat.
KRG officials have said the Region has ample water resources – with lakes, rivers, and groundwater – but admit they have a management problem and water is not adequately stored, conserved, or protected from pollution.
Sadr is continuing to hold talks with Iraqi and Kurdish political leaders to establish the next Iraqi government. He is uniquely placed to apply pressure on interim leaders who want a place in a future cabinet.