Drinking Water and Irrigation Water Shortages in the Middle East

2235 Words 9 Pages
One would think there are enough conflicts to be had in the Middle East. The area is simply a breeding ground for turmoil, and has been for centuries. Of the many conflicts that revolve around the areas history, politics, religion, territory or ethnicity, one more can be added to the group: water. These societies all need water, but not all have the same resources to get to that water. What is the hotbed of vice in this situation is only a few of the countries in the Middle East have total control over their own water, leaving most of the others to depend on the graces of those few countries to manage their water magnanimously enough to supply them with what they need. With Turkey and Israel in control of much of the Middle …show more content…
If a river is located in multiple countries, often the country downstream will find itself at odds with the country that is located upstream. According to the Water: fuel for conflict in the Middle East article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in July, 2003, it said that generally, the country downstream was better able to utilize the rivers water for agriculture and industry, but saying that, today, newer technologies and techniques give upstream countries more options and are disrupting ancient patterns of water usage, threatening relationships built on these patterns (Washington).

The lifeline of Iraq has always been the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but most of the water from these rivers originates in another country. Eighty-eight percent of the water from the Euphrates River originates in Turkey, with the remainder from two rivers that enter in Syria (Francona). One expert has gone as far to say that 98% of the Euphrates starts in Turkey (Kaya). That leaves virtually nothing added to the river from water in Iraq, meaning that Iraqs supply of water from the Euphrates is totally dependant on the nature of control that Turkey and Syria have over the river. The Tigris largely originates in Turkey as well, supplying as much as 51% of the annual water volume, while Iraq has its only claim to
Open Document