tical influence or for unknown reasons.

5) An Italian company called TREVI was contracted for about 350 million US Dollars to do mainly grouting operations in Mosul Dam for 18 months. This contract was renewed for another year for about 100 million US Dollars. Iraqi local staff carried out these operations since 1986. If we consider the cost in case the Iraqi staff will handle the grouting operations, we can save at least 70% of the 450 Million US Dollars. Other contracts have been awarded even without informing the public. Reasons for such actions if not satisfactorily explained can only be taken as acts of corruption to which all the responsible persons must be brought to accounting. Similarly, all other violations which have been committed in running the water management sector during these years must be investigated and all responsible people should be brought to justice. A firm and tough policy towards corruption must be instated. Transparency in the actions of the Ministry of water resources sector should be respected and upheld.

4. Discussion

The Euphrates and Tigris basin are shared by four main countries. These are Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. Iraq being the lowest downstream country is the most effected country by any projects on these rivers and their tributaries in the upstream countries. These countries do not have any agreement about water quotas and or a comprehensive plan for the future management of the catchments of these rivers [14] [28] . Because all these individual countries claim that they have water shortage problems so water is over exploited [41] [52] [53] [54] . This has caused certain conflict between these countries like the tension between Iraq and Syria in 1975 and in the friction between Turkey and Syria in the 1980s [55] . Since Turkey is the riparian hegemon, then there should be some intensive efforts to bring Turkey to the table of negotiations and discussion. The help of an international partner that have the political, technical and financial power to convince all parties [14] [19] can do this. Reaching a solution is vital because the low flow and climate change has led to an abnormal rise of temperatures in Iraq and Syria as well as enhancing dust storms [56] [57] [58] [59] which have very negative consequences on humans and the environment (see Figure 2 and Figure 3).

While trying to reach an agreement with riparian countries, Iraq should take quick measures to construct a prudent and scientific strategy to overcome the water shortage problems. The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources claims to have a long-term strategy. In this context, no one has seen this strategy or its implementation. Even if such strategy exits, the results are negative indicating that this strategy does not work and should be changed. Al-Ansari [14] [19] [40] suggested a long-term strategy that can be put in practice to overcome this nightmare. This strategy can be summarized as follow:

1) Strategic Water Management Vision: In this context, an integrated water master plan is required. The plan is to be put by individuals that have expertise in water resources at the ministries of Water Resources and Agriculture. Experienced university staff are to participate as well as NGO’s. It will be a good idea

Figure 2. The extent of the dust storm on 8 September 2015 as seen from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite. Image accessed from NASA Worldview: worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov. (Source [57] ).

Figure 3. The Fertile Crescent has been steadily drying since 1931, and recent changes have exacerbated the trend. Map (a) shows winter precipitation from 1931 to 2008. Map (b) shows winter rainfall change from 1931 to 2008. Map (c) shows a steep decline in groundwater between 2008 and the mean of the previous six years using data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. Map (d) shows a decline in vegetation between 2008 and the mean of the previous seven years using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument. (Source [58] ).

to include representatives of regional and International organizations concerned. The plan should include the following:

- Rehabilitation of infrastructure, which should cover dams, barrages, weirs as well as pumping stations.

- Improving the efficiency of distribution networks specially diversion and supply down to the point of use.

- Irrigation modernization using suitable techniques. Present methods should be very restricted and new less water consuming techniques should be adopted e.g. drip irrigation.

- Public awareness program is vital so that all the people appreciate the serious problem they are facing.

- Defining institutional agenda including employment and training.

- Supply and demand should be considered. In this context, new non-conventional water resources (water harvesting, treated wastewater) should be considered and evaluated.

- Private sector is to be enhanced to be involved (especially for infrastructural investment).

- The extent of restoring the marshes should be considered in view of water availability.

- Review and amend all the legislations and laws governing the water sector and water use to exercise better control of water sharing between all users and to ensure the proper use of water which should be treated as a rare commodity and stop all types of waste or misuse. The government must also enforce the application of these laws by using its proper instruments to solve individual and tribal conflicts over water issues in the light of the stipulation of these laws.

- A new policy towards water pricing should be introduced to stop water misuse and waste by introducing proper tariff based on the real economic value of water on one hand and to hinder this misuse and waste. Collection method should be based on actual used quantities and away from any type of corruption or manipulation.

- Inter-ministerial coordination is very important. This will save time, effort and money. More decentralization including budget in irrigation, water supply and sanitation sectors are to be practiced.

2) Regional cooperation and coordination: Before starting any discussion with any organization, the institutional and technical needs for cooperation should be defined. Iraq should concentrate its efforts on trans-boundary resources. This can be achieved by discussions with all riparian countries with the help of a mediator that has good political, technical and financial capabilities. Iraq from its side can give incentives to upstream countries so that they will seriously be involved. In addition, UN organizations, International institutions and well known universities can be approached for scientific and technical cooperation.

3) Irrigation and Agriculture: In this sector, plenty of efforts are required. As a start, farmers should be trained to use modern irrigation techniques before implementing these techniques. In addition, institutions should reflect decentralization, autonomy and farmer empowerment. Other measures should include:

- Modernizing the irrigation and drainage system.

- Enhancing the private investment in the agricultural sector.

- Using suitable techniques in irrigation (drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation) and closed irrigation systems.

- Maintenance of irrigation and drainage projects.

- Partially built dams should be completed and starting to build new dams.

- Water harvesting techniques are to be used.

4) Water Supply and Sanitation: Distribution and collection networks are in very bad conditions. This necessitates quick maintenance and restoring distribution and collection networks and services are to be improved.

5) Research and Development: A data bank should be established that includes all reliable data required (climatological, hydrological, geological, environmental and soil) to be used by researchers and decision makers in water resources and agricultural research. Researchers and postgraduate students are to be allowed to have access to the data. The research should highlight the needs and suitability of new techniques in water resources and agriculture to the environment in Iraq. An institute can be established to perform these tasks as well as:

- Establishing training programs for technicians, engineers and decision makers about up to date technologies.

- Executing research to import new technologies in water resources and agriculture which suites Iraq environment.

- Projects, which help in augmenting water resources, developing land productivity, minimizing water use and consumption should be, carried out.

- Setting the outlines of public awareness programs both for water use and agricultural activities.

- Giving advice to universities and institutes to set special courses in arid region hydrology.

6) A thorough examination should be made to all of the organization structures in the water sector to ensure efficiency of work and quick response to arising problems as the present structures proves to be flabby, over staffed and inactive.

5. Conclusion

Building of dams and implementation of irrigation projects in the upper parts of the catchment as well as the effect of climate change have caused reduction of the flow of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and their tributaries. For these reasons, Iraq is facing a serious water shortage problem now and in the future. The Iraqi Ministry of Water resources mismanagement made the problem even worse. On the regional level it is believed that overcoming the problem requires discussions and negotiations with all riparian countries. This task is very hard to achieve and requires a mediator that has political, financial and technical capabilities that can convince all parties. Iraq on its part as being the lowermost country within the Euphrates and Tigris catchment should give some incentives to Turkey so that it considers the problem seriously. This requires also that the Iraqi government in general and the Ministry in particular should take this matter as an existential threat affecting the livelihood of the People of Iraq and act accordingly. Both the government and the Ministry have not done so far enough in this respect and they both need to put more work and effort on this. At the same time, on the local level Iraq the Ministry should put a prudent and scientific strategy for the management of its water resources and apply it correctly. All influences affecting the fair water distribution must be stopped, whether political, tribal or otherwise, and corruption in all its forms must be eradicated starting from the top down to the bottom.

Cite this paper

Al-Ansari, N. and Adamo, N. (2018) Present Water Crises in Iraq and Its Human and Environmental Implications. Engineering, 10, 305-319. https://doi.org/10.4236/eng.2018.106021


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