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The two rivers parted, and the story of the embrace of the Tigris and Euphrates ended at the Shatt al-Arab in Basra, due to the decline in the levels of the "Euphrates" to dangerous levels, in addition to the presence of the "dam" that was established 15 years ago to feed the marshes by diverting the course of the river, a goal that was not achieved due to the scarcity of incoming water releases. From Turkey.
The Euphrates is one of the largest major rivers in southwest Asia, and its source starts from Turkey, passes through Syrian territory to Iraq, and has a total length of more than 2,700 km. Seven dams are located on it inside Iraq, which are Haditha, Fallujah, Ramadi, Kufa, Hindi, Shamiya and Tharthar dams. Most of them were established in the eighties of the last century, and their path begins inside Iraq from Anbar Governorate, passing through Karbala, Babel, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Muthanna, and Dhi Qar, until it reaches Basra and ends in the Arabian Gulf.
Ghazwan al-Sahlani, deputy director general of the Ministry of Water Resources Projects Operational Authority, says, "The dam that cut off the Euphrates River from the Tigris River was supposed to contribute to preserving the levels of the marshes and feeding them by diverting the course of the Euphrates River towards it and preventing its flow towards Basra by making the city district in the region." It is close to the Chibayish Marshes, but this matter depends on the river level rising to more than 160 cm, so that the water can bypass the dam and continue its flow.
Al-Sahlani added, "The level of the Euphrates River did not achieve any height that would allow it to cross the dam except in 2019, and at that time it was able to bypass the dam and reach the marshes, after which the goal of its existence was not achieved."
The river was exposed to the influence of climatic variables and water mismanagement, which caused a decrease in its levels, as its revenues became insufficient to complete its water course towards Basra. Against this background, a cutting dam was established in 2008 located in the area adjacent to the district of Chibayish, east of Dhi Qar, and the district of Medina, north of Basra, with a height of 160 cm. It consists of concrete pieces interspersed with closed pipes that can be controlled in the event of increasing levels and draining them.
And the Iraq Green Observatory revealed, in mid-May, that there was a drinking water crisis in the areas of Al-Ankur and Al-Majar in Al-Anbar Governorate, which affected the 13,000 residents of these areas, including farmers and earners, as a result of the low levels of Lake Habbaniya nearby, which prompted the people to Buying drinking water, while resorting to using stagnant water for washing.
At that time, many pictures of the drying up of Lake Habbaniyah spread, especially in the areas of Al-Ankur and Al-Majar, while some humanitarian organizations went directly to providing drinking water for the residents of those areas.
In addition, Juma al-Maliki, director of water resources in Basra Governorate, explains that "the meeting of the Euphrates River with the Tigris River has ended, and there is no longer any outlet for cohesion as a result of the low levels of the Euphrates."
And it shows that "this decline prompted the Ministry of Water Resources to install dozens of water pumps at the Tharthar depression to supply the Euphrates with quantities of water to raise its water level."
The Ministry of Water Resources indicated in a previous statement that the process of installing pumps to raise the level of the Euphrates came due to the water scarcity that the country has been suffering from for the fourth year in a row, and led to a decrease in water levels in Tharthar Lake, which necessitates the installation of pumps to withdraw water from it and take advantage of the dead reservoirs. to strengthen the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Water Resources, previously confirmed to Al-Alam Al-Jadeed, that the three dry years that passed in Iraq prompted the ministry to go and use strategic storage, which led to its decrease from 60 billion cubic meters in 2019 to less than 10 billion cubic meters now. Almost reached 8 billion cubic meters.
Iraq has lost 70 percent of its water shares due to the policy of neighboring countries, and the decrease in water shares in some southern governorates is due to the lack of water revenues received from the Mosul Dam on the Tigris and the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates from Turkey, according to a previous statement by the Ministry of Water Resources as well.
For his part, Professor of Geography Rahim Hamid explains, during an interview with Al-Alam Al-Jadeed, that “the failure of the Euphrates to form the Shatt Al-Arab and its confluence with the Tigris causes a problem in the sea tide operations, as the Shatt Al-Arab witnesses a sea tide from the Arabian Gulf that sometimes reaches North of Qurna district, and this matter makes the riverine environment a marine environment and causes changes in it.
And he continues, "The decrease in the levels of the Euphrates affected the nature and quality of the water. Instead of the water flowing continuously, it now reaches a certain point and stops and cannot be drained. This affects the physical and chemical properties and is negatively reflected on the marsh environment, as it made it a stable water environment. Its environment should be water circulation, not stagnation, and this is subject to evaporation and high salinity.
It is worth noting that Baghdad witnessed the holding of the third water conference on May 6, in the presence of Turkey and Iran. During the conference, Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani affirmed: We have taken many measures to reduce the effects and risks of water scarcity, and we have diagnosed the water problem with the upstream countries and its causes.. and our meetings. With the officials of the countries with which we share water, I focused on the need for us to obtain our full share of water, and to intensify technical efforts to solve problems diplomatically, away from the language of escalation.
For his part, Jassem al-Asadi, an expert in water and environmental affairs, said, "There is mismanagement of the water file, and this matter is one of the main reasons for the decline in water levels in all rivers, in addition to climate change."
Al-Asadi explains, "The levels of the Euphrates River have decreased to great levels. The level of its discharges at the Iraqi-Syrian border is scheduled to be no less than 295 cubic meters per second, but two weeks ago it reached less than 150 cubic meters per second, and the level of its discharges at the region Between Samawah and Nasiriyah, it should not be less than 60 cubic meters per second, but it reached 50 cubic meters per second, so we find the Euphrates level at the present time up to 80 cm, and it is expected to drop to 50 cm at the end of next August, and this matter constitutes a real crisis for the marshes According to these circumstances, it is not possible for the Euphrates to continue to form the Shatt al-Arab, as is well known, and it cannot feed the marshes either.
It is noteworthy that Turkey has been trying for years to use the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to generate electricity, so it announced the construction of a number of dams, starting in 2006, including the Ilisu Dam, which entered into operation in 2018, which limited the flow of water to Iraq, and this led to Exacerbated fear of acute shortages and the inability to meet the daily needs of agriculture and the population.
Iran also changed the course of the Karun River in 2018, when the assistant Iranian Minister of Agriculture at the time, Ali Murad Akbari, announced that about 7 billion cubic meters would be cut off towards the Iraqi border, and an amount of $8 billion would be allocated to the ministries of energy and agriculture to control the movement of water, and that these quantities of water It will be used in 3 major projects in the country, including a project on an area of 550,000 hectares in Khuzestan, and 220,000 hectares in Khuzestan and Ilam, in western Iran, which affected the waters of the Shatt al-Arab and increased its salinity, and damaged agricultural lands in Basra Governorate, as it was cut off. Iran destroyed all the rivers connecting Diyala Governorate, which led to its almost complete loss of agriculture.
Quoted from the New World newspaper
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