The situation in Iraq has become increasingly alarming as the Tigris and Euphrates rivers have been rapidly depleting. This has been caused by the droughts and desertification that have been plaguing the country, as well as by the lack of water sharing agreements with neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Iran. Photos of stranded boats and the visible river bed have been shared on social media, signalling the severity of the situation.
At a meeting to discuss the problem, Iraqi President Barham Salih highlighted the need for Iraq to reach an agreement with its neighbours over water sharing. The sources of the two main Iraqi rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are both located in Turkey, and many Turkish and Iranian dams are located upstream of Iraq. The Iraqi authorities have accused Tehran and Ankara of reducing the flow of the rivers, however, agricultural practices in Iraq have also contributed to the decline in water reserves.
In response to the emergency, the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources has promised to release more water from the dams located in the north of the country. The World Bank has also called for Iraq to modernise its irrigation methods and the Iraqi President has reiterated this call.
The water crisis in Iraq is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed. If the country is to avoid further depletion of its rivers, it must work to reach an agreement with its neighbours over water sharing, as well as modernise its irrigation methods.