Iraq has enormous water wealth, which made the country one of the richest countries in the world in this vital matter, which is the most important pillars of life and the basis for the formation of societies and the establishment of states,
And the matter in Iraq was not limited to the existence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries only, but the matter extended to include permanent large pools of water. It is represented in the lakes, marshes and others, as well as the large reserves of groundwater
Of course, and like any vital and distinct matter in the country, the water file in Iraq is one of the most important files due to the complete neglect of the government and the inability to find radical solutions to address this depletion at the political level with the neighboring countries – upstream countries – and on the environmental level, which has been completely non-existent in the country for two decades now.
It is worth to mention that the degree of water stress in Iraq has reached (3.7 out of 5) according to the water stress index, thus Iraq is classified among the countries that have a “high risk” with regard to the issue of water scarcity and drought.
The factors behind the deteriorating water situation in Iraq are many and complex, perhaps the most important of which are climate changes, political interference and skirmishes with source countries, ongoing wars, conflicts and internal unrest, and finally, the old and worn out water policies pursued by the government in dealing with this file.
Climate changes affecting Iraq:
Climate changes play a major role in water scarcity in Iraq, and in this case leads to a variation in the amount of water coming to it from the two rivers between a sudden increase that may cause floods or shortages that lead to drought, not to mention a lower rate of rainfall than it was before, and an increase in the rates of Groundwater withdrawals to about 5.2 billion cubic meters, which in turn represent 8.8% of fresh water resources, and new water withdrawals by about 1.47 billion cubic meters annually through groundwater systems, according to the National Development Plan report issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, and the volume of water storage decreased From 157 billion cubic meters to nearly 50 billion cubic meters in 2015, according to the same report.
The dams of upstream countries
Perhaps one of the most important factors causing the water crisis in the country is the water policies pursued by the upstream countries, specifically (Iran and Turkey), from building large numbers of dams and diverting tributary streams into their territories.
Which contributed greatly to the arrival of the situation to what it is and its continuation of the worse.
According to the National Development Plan (2018-2022) report issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, these projects will lead to a decrease in the country’s water revenues at a rate of up to one billion cubic meters annually, and the same report also expected an increase in salinity to nearly double in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
An example of this is Turkey’s declaration of the “East Anatolia” project, which included building 22 dams. In turn, Iran has implemented many irrigation projects on the rivers shared with Iraq that diverted most of it into Iran.
Governmental water policies :
Of course, the dilapidated and sham policies pursued by successive governments, especially over the past two decades, only made matters worse, as most of the agreements that were signed were unfair to the rights of the country and the citizen alike, in addition to the water distribution networks, irrigation systems, and old sewage systems that were not developed. Since nearly thirty years, which leads to the waste of huge quantities of water. Neglect of dams, lakes, and water reservoirs, and failure to legislate laws that criminalize encroachment on water, and many others …..
This was a summary of the water situation in Iraq. All the causes, nor all the causes of what happened were not addressed. The difficulties related to this file are many, but solutions are available and can be applied if there is a real will to make all the country’s issues fundamental and strive to solve them. But if the situation continues as it is now, we will suffer from thirst in addition to the dark future !!!!!!!!!!!!
* It is strictly forbidden to use the information and the studies contained on this site, except with prior permission from the administration and the authors Thualfuqar center.