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problems are, however, man-made: water infrastructure debilitated from decades of war and neglect; inefficient and outdated agricultural practices; rapid population growth and urbanization; competing water management approaches within transboundary river systems; and the looming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.
Results for Tag: River
Water supply and food security will pose a major challenge in the coming years, which many government officials refer to as a human security issue. Both the country’s natural climatic situation and the government policies in managing its limited water resources over the past few decades have exacerbated this challenge.
Iraq’s extensive reservoir network is at the heart of the country’s ability to manage its available water resources. The dams are operated in three independent systems: System No. 1 encompassing the Euphrates, Tigris, Greater Zab and Lesser Zab; System No. 2 encompassing the al-Adhaim watershed; and System No. 3 encompassing the Diyala watershed.
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 Failing infrastructure, outdated agricultural and irrigation systems, upstream development, the IS insurgency, budget shortfalls, political instability and climate change all require discreet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.
Uncontrolled use of groundwater resources in the regions with insufficient amount of surface water (rivers and lakes) stands out as another challenge. Use of illegal wells for groundwater extraction is a major issue. Despite the legal regulations on wells, the problem related to illegal wells cannot be solved because of the inadequate sanctions and inspection. The groundwater resources are subject to intense use for agriculture purpose. Because of over-extraction, most of the groundwater resources are under the threat of extinction.
The Euphrates-Tigris basin is among the most important river basins in Turkey and in the Middle East. The average annual discharge of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is 84 billion m3, which equals to the average annual flow of the Nile River. Euphrates provides 90 per cent of water, whose average annual flow is 32 billion m3, from Turkey.