Iraqi Kurdistan water projects are delayed because of Baghdad budget dispute

Financial problems caused by cuts in budgetary transfers to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from central government are affecting the delivery of nine major water projects in Iraqi Kurdistan with an aggregate value of $2.7bn, the MEED Kurdistan Projects conference in Erbil was told today.

“Four of these projects are very, very important,” director general of the KRG’s general directorate of water and sewerage Sahand Ahmed said.

Ahmed said the four key projects are

  • The $600m Erbil wastewater project number four
  • The $276m Sulaymaniah wastewater treatment plant with capacity of 600,000 cubic metres a day
  • The $960m Erbil wastewater system expansion which will involve the construction of four new treatment plants, each with capacity of more than 200,000 cubic metres a day
  • The $300m Sulaymaniah water project number four. This project will include 85 kilometres of pipeline.

Ahmed said the directorate general is working with the council of ministers of the KRG to get funding from external resources in the form of soft loans for the $276m Sulaymaniah project. The KRG is developing a soft-loan fund for the development of the $960m Erbil plan. Ahmed said that council of ministers is also investigating the possibility of securing external funding for the $300m Sulaymaniah project number four.

Ahmed said five other water and wastewater projects were being affected by financing problems. These are the

  • 195,000 cubic metre a day Khanaqin water project
  • $110m Harir water project which includes a water treatment plant with capacity of 3,000 cubic metres an hour. “We stopped the tendering for this project because of the difficulties in the KRG’s cashflow,” Ahmed said.
  • The $170 Kushaf-Makhmoor water plant. Ahmed said the aim is to develop the project on a build-operate basis
  • The $80m Barda Rash water project. “It should have been in the 2014 budget but the project has not yet been endorsed,” Ahmed said.
  • The $80m Khabat water project which will serve 14 villages and include a 3,000 cubic metre and hour treatment plant. This was also scheduled to be in the 2014 budget but it has not been endorsed, Ahmed said.

Projects that are being constructed comprise:

  • The $108m Goptapa Chamchamal water project which is being built on a design, build and operate (DBO) basis. Ahmed said the project is at the design stage
  • The $97m Amedy water project to serve 180,000 people. The project is being delivered on a DBO basis and is almost complete
  • The $75m Aqrah water plant in Dohuk province. The DBO contract is also almost complete
  • The $80m Barzan water project, which is also nearly finished.
  • The $20.8m Darbandikhan project. It was funded in the 2013 budget and is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Ahmed said that the KRG is working on two further water projects with a combined value of $330m that are being funded through Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in Erbil, Dohuk and Halabjeh.

MEED’s Kurdistan Projects 2014 Conference was organised in collaboration with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the KDBC and the UKTI. Taqa is strategic event partner. Conference sponsors are Drake & Scull, Falcon Group and Hill International. Jotun is exhibitor and Parson is networking event sponsor.