Sunday, July 06, 2014

ISIS's Electricity Binge and Water

In Syria, the ISIS has sharply increased electricity generation from a critical dam, causing water shortages elsewhere:
Under the watch of the  Islamic State group - formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - levels in Lake Assad have dropped so low that pumps used to funnel water east and west are either entirely out of commission or functioning at significantly reduced levels. The shortages compel residents in Aleppo and Al Raqqa to draw water from unreliable sources, which can pose serious health risks.
The primary reason behind the drop appears to be a dramatic spike in electricity generation at the Euphrates Dam in al-Tabqa, which has been forced to work at alarmingly high rates...
"Ten years ago the government told engineers to forget this dam for energy [generation] … that it is only a strategic reserve of water," Waleed said. "Normally we should not use more than one or two of the turbines for more than four or five hours per day. But for the last month and a half they have been using eight at full [capacity]..."
At the beginning of May, electricity supply in rebel-confrolled al-Raqqa suddenly spiked, reaching up to 16 hours per day - unheard of in Syria's conflict-ridden northern provinces.
It sounds like ISIS tried to endear themselves to the inhabitants of Raqqa by providing more electricity, but in a way that was unsustainable and that continues to cause significant water shortages elsewhere, most notably in Aleppo.

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