Hydrological Characteristics of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

Hydrological Characteristics of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

Nadhir Al-Ansari1 , Nasrat Adamo2 and Varoujan K. Sissakian3


The Middle East is considered as an arid to a semi-arid region where the annual rainfall does not exceed 166 mm/y. Water shortage issue within this area is one of the prime issues of friction and tension between the countries of the Middle East. Iraq is located within the Middle East. It covers an area 437072 square kilometer with a population of 38.27 million. Iraq used to be considered rich in its water resources due to the presence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The catchments of these rivers are shared with Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Building of dams in the upper parts of the catchment since the seventies as well as climate change affecting the region caused water shortage problems in Iraq. The flow of the two main rivers decreased tremendously. To overcome this problem, prudent water management plan is required. Such plan should include the use of non-conventional water resources, new irrigation techniques, public awareness, and new water management strategies. This will help to reduce the impact of water shortage problems.

Keywords: Tigris River; Euphrates River; Iraq

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