Drying Euphrates Cripples Iraq

Turkish, Syrian dams, Iraqi practices blamed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 14, 2009 8:53 AM CDT
In this photo taken July 9, 2009, a woman checks her land in Latifiyah, Iraq. Below-average rainfall and insufficient water in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers have left Iraq bone-dry.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Iraqis are suffering as the Euphrates river dwindles, a result of Turkish and Syrian dams upstream, a 2-year drought, and Iraqi’s own mismanagement of its water supply, the New York Times reports. Farmers and fishermen have been ruined and key grain-growing land desiccated. “The old men say it’s the worst they remember,” says one fisherman.

Many blame Turkey and Syria, which have at least seven dams on the river. Turkey has lately doubled the flow into the Euphrates, bringing it to 60% of its average, but there’s no official agreement to maintain it. Others say Iraqis must improve their handling of the water, eliminating waste and improving drainage. Whatever the solution, it must come soon, warns a farmer.