It seems that unjust human activity and climate change are threatening to wipe out a lifeline that is thousands of years old in Iraq.
The Tigris River, which watered the Garden of Eden, Sumer and Babylon throughout history, has become struggling with death.
In this country, which has a population of 42 million, and is considered a Source of civilization and agriculture, the countless natural disasters are almost choking the breath of this river.
photos of disaster
Especially after Iraq has become today one of the five countries in the world most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, according to the United Nations, with drought, low rainfall, high temperatures and accelerated desertification.
This was affected by the Tigris River with the decline of rain, as well as by the dams built in Turkey, where the river originates.
Tigris River (AFP)
While the pictures from the banks of the river, from the Source in the north to the sea in the south, showed the scale of that disaster that forced the residents to change their way of life.
water is decreasing
From the mountains of Kurdistan at the intersection of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, where people make their living by growing potatoes and raising sheep, many have complained of this crisis.
Also, on the border with Syria, near the border with Turkey, many residents confirmed that their lives depend on the Tigris, according to what AFP reported.
Commenting on the tragedy, 41-year-old Bebo Hassan Dolmasa, who comes from an agricultural village in Fishkhabour, said, “If the water level drops, our agriculture and our entire region will be affected.”
Tigris River in Iraq (AFP)
He also explained that the water is decreasing day by day, after it was flowing in Seoul.
We will migrate because of the water.
In turn, Abu Mahdi, 42, a farmer, complained, “We will have to give up farming, sell our livestock and see where we can go.”
He also added, “We were displaced by the war (in the eighties between Iran and Iraq) and now we will migrate because of water. Without water, we will be displaced, and we can never live in these areas.”
Tigris River in Iraq (AFP)
In some places, the river looked like puddles of rainwater. The small pools of water in the course of the Diyala River are all that remain of the Tigris tributary in the center of the country, without which nothing can be cultivated in the province.
While the government, due to drought, this year halved cultivated areas across the country.
The Iraqi authorities and Kurdish farmers in Kurdistan accused Turkey of cutting off the water by holding it in the dams it built on the stream before it reaches Iraq.
In turn, official statistics confirmed this accusation, as they showed that the level of the Tigris River upon its arrival from Turkey this year did not exceed 35% of the average amount that flowed into Iraq during the past 100 years.
Especially since the greater the water retention, the less the flow of the river, which extends over 1,500 km, before it merges with its twin, the Euphrates, and meets in the Shatt al-Arab, which flows into the Gulf.
Baghdad has long asked Ankara to release more water.
But the Turkish response blamed the Iraqis. In July, the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad, Ali Reza Güni, called on the Iraqis to “use the available water more effectively.” “Water is wasted on a large scale,” he added in a tweet on his Twitter account.
Reckless irrigation methods
In turn, a number of experts spoke of reckless irrigation methods, despite the issue of Turkish dams, which exacerbated the problem.
As in the time of the Sumerians, Iraqi farmers continue to flood their fields to irrigate them, which leads to a huge waste of water.
It is reported that by the end of March 2022, more than 3,300 families were displaced due to “climatic factors” in ten provinces of the center and south of the country, according to a report published by the International Organization for Migration in August.
The United Nations and several non-governmental organizations warned last June that water scarcity and challenges to sustainable agriculture and food security are among the “main drivers of rural-urban migration” in Iraq.
The World Bank also warned at the end of 2021 that by 2050, “a rise in temperature of one degree Celsius and a decrease in precipitation by 10% will lead to a 20% decrease in the available fresh water” in the country.