Basrah, Iraq, 23 July 2006: The Agriculture Reconstruction and Development Program for Iraq (ARDI), part of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has completed a second Geographic Information System (GIS) training course for 17 participants in Basrah.
GIS training courses are part of an effort to develop a Strategy for Water and Land Resources for Iraq (SWLRI). The SWLRI is an inter-ministerial effort to collect data and develop tools to help the Government of Iraq determine water availability and needs throughout the country while also analyzing potential investment for future water and land use. The Ministry of Water Resources is leading this effort in cooperation with 10 other ministries and the Municipality of Baghdad.
The SWLRI is focusing on national perspectives of water resource availability in Iraq and allocation among competing and complementary uses, such as hydropower, agriculture, marsh restoration, flood control and potable use.
The SWLRI is endeavoring to increase the use of spatial data, GIS and mapping tools in Iraq. Many ministries already have the software and hardware for GIS but few or no trained staff. In addition to basic software training, ARDI is assisting with the development of the structure of the GIS system for the SWLRI. The form of the structure will likely resemble GIS systems in other countries. Information will be split into five areas: supply sources, or available resources; demand centers; conveyance; geographic inventory and source data.