Australian Embassy, Assyrian Aid Society build irrigation canal in Kashkawa

June 2023

Australia’s Embassy in Iraq partnered with the Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq to replace a weathered irrigation canal with concrete in the village of Kashkawa.

The project hopes to improve water sustainability for farmers in the Nahla Valley by reducing waste, according to the Australian Embassy.

“In any village, irrigation channels are lifelines of agriculture,” the embassy wrote in a Facebook post on June 12.

Situated just east of Dohuk and about 26 miles from the Turkish border, the village of Kashkawa is home to about 180 Assyrians, according to the Shlama Foundation population database.

The village’s canal is a 4.3 mile long irrigation pathway.

And like many villages in Iraq’s north, this canal is carved into the mud and the flow of water is hindered by dirt and other obstacles.  

To improve the flow of water, nearly 2 miles of the canal were reconstructed with concrete. 

Fifty-four farmers will be aided from the increased flow of water, the project estimates, and the remaining residents will see improved water flow to their lands.

“In the past, water wasn’t coming to all of our fields,” said Alksander Abraham, a farmer in Kashkawa. “When we rehabilitated the canal, it made the water come and reach them. Farmers will now have more chances to plant more for their fields.”

Agricultural lands across Iraq have faced a dramatic shortfall of water in recent years due to less rainfall and declining river levels. Water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq plunged 30% in February, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources.

The irrigation canal in Kashkawa was funded through the Direct Aid Program by the Australian Embassy, a program that offers small grants to local communities in developing countries for projects that reduce poverty and achieve lasting development.

Working with the embassy has set the Assyrian Aid Society on a path of partnership for larger projects, said a representative of the non-profit organization.

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