Karbala Locals Plan Ahead for Serious Drought

“We will still be able to provide people with drinking water,” suggests Ala al-Qazwini, an engineer working for Karbala's Directorate of Agriculture. “But its' going to be difficult to supply farms and animals if the river levels continue to drop.”

“And some areas that used to be able to extract ground water below the surface at around 20 to 30 meters are now having to go down to more than 100 meters below ground level,” he continues, “which makes the water extraction process extremely expensive.”

And then there are the problems caused by Turkey's damming of the Euphrates River. It is well known that Turkish dams across the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers reduce the flow of water into Iraq, Iran and Syria and it's an ongoing cause of disputes between the various governments.

Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources says that before Turkey dammed the Euphrates there were around 30 billion cubic tonnes of water flowing into Iraq. That has since halved, and the amount seems to be getter smaller still.

The Iraqi government has accused the Turkish of not honouring agreements about the flow of water into the country. However the Turkish government says that they too are suffering because of drought conditions and that Iraqis are to blame because of an inefficient and outdated irrigation system that wastes too much water.

As the Iraqi summer approaches, bringing with it temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius, it is hard to know what locals can do, other than hope for the best – and some rain, somewhere - anywhere - upriver.

(Water image via Shutterstock)

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