Sustainable water resource management in Iraq has no shortage of challenges. Some of Iraq’s water hardships, like seasonal floods and droughts, occur naturally. Many of the most disruptive and destructive problems are, however, man-made: water infrastructure debilitated from decades of war and neglect; inefficient and outdated agricultural practices; rapid population growth and urbanization; competing water management approaches within transboundary river systems; and the looming crisis of climate change. The government of Iraq has plans to address the situation but it remains to be seen whether major reform will transpire.
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The Ministry of Water Resources has adopted a strategy on water resource management to address water needs and to overcome water challenges in Iraq. If the strategy is fully implemented, there is projected to be a 24.5% decrease in the freshwater consumption between now and 2035, even as Iraq’s population grows.
The Ministry of Water Resources has shown that it understands the challenges that face the country and has adopted a strategy that will help alleviate water scarcity in the future. Despite this, several crises threaten to push the country towards further deterioration. Failing infrastructure, outdated agricultural and irrigation systems, upstream development, the IS insurgency, budget shortfalls, political instability and climate change all require discreet solutions, any one of which is difficult on its own let alone in tandem.