Effects of Illegal Wells on Groundwater Level in the Central Sub-basin, Erbil Basin, Erbil, Kurdistan Region-Iraq

Rubar Dizayee


Groundwater is the basis for socioeconomic stability in the Kurdistan region of Iraq because it is the main source of water there. Locals depend on groundwater for almost all their needs. For example, people rely on this water for irrigation, domestic, and industrial purposes. The groundwater is extracted by drilling wells into the aquifers spread throughout the Kurdistan Region. The region is made up of four provinces, including the Erbil Province. This study examines the Erbil Basin, which is the province’s significant basin. The Erbil Basin is itself divided into three sub-basins; the Northern (Kapran) sub-basin, the Southern (Bashtapa) sub-basin, and the Central sub-basin. This study is based on data drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and seeks to determine the legality of wells located in the Central sub-basin and to examine their impact on groundwater degradation. The total number of water wells in the Central sub-basin is much higher than its legally permitted number of wells. Previous research has shown that the Central sub-basin’s water table has suffered the most degradation. As a result, people in this area are facing very serious problems because of water shortage, and many wells have dried up in this sub-basin. These results are related to the highest number of illegal wells being located within this sub-basin. The findings of the present research, depending on the well data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, indicated that in the Central sub-basin out of the 803 wells provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources the author could only use 650 wells because the rest of the wells had wrong coordinates and the author had to discard them. In fact, the number of wells in the Central sub-basin is much more than the wells provided in the data set, but most of the illegal wells are not recorded in the data base. Out of the 650 wells that the author used to conduct this research; 46.6% (303 wells) were found to be illegal.


Erbil Basin; Central sub-basin; legality of the wells; Groundwater.

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