SYRIA: Hasakah South dam pumping water to agricultural land after 23-year stoppage

HASAKAH, Syria – After being out of service for more than 23 years, the General Administration of Agriculture and Livestock in Hasakah city has begun a project to utilize the district’s southern dam – Haskah South – to assist in the irrigation of agricultural land of the fertile Khabur River Valley.

The Khabur Valley, home to many of North and East Syria’s Syriac-Assyrian population, is a highly productive agricultural area of approximately four million acres feed by the Khabur River. The area is sometimes referred to as “Syria’s breadbasket”.

In a step towards self-sufficiency – a move made in no small part due to Turkey’s repeated efforts to deprive the region of water by shutting off the Alouk Water Station outside the occupied city of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) – the General Administration of Agriculture and Livestock in Hasakah plans to pump water from Hasakah South’s 0.7 cubic km reservoir to irrigate agricultural crops in the region.

The Water Resources Directorate began the project on Saturday.

The director of the Water Resources Directorate, Mohamed al-Aswad, stated to North Press Agency that the dam had been out of service for 23 years. During that period, the areas of southern Hasakah have not witnessed any agricultural activity due to the lack of sufficient water resources.

During the winter thaw, the reservoir fills with enough water to irrigate the areas crops for an estimated six months.

Haskah South is considered one of the most important dams in the district. Following its closure in 1997, farmers were forced to dig artesian wells to irrigate their crops. A lack of rain, exacerbated by the Turkey’s closing of norther pumping stations, has left the area largely uncultivatable.

Furthermore, the Syrian regime did not allow opening the dam turbines to irrigate summer crops.