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Iraq’s water crisis shrinks Lake Razzazza

  • Iraq’s water crisis shrinks Lake Razzazza
    Credit: NASA

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Lake Razzazza, Iraq’s second largest lake, is drying up as the land around it slowly turns into a desert, reports Associated Press. Water levels in the lake are declining every year, and pollution and high salinity have taken a toll on the once abundant fish populations.

Also known as Lake Milh, it was built in the late 1970s to regulate the flood flows in the Euphrates River, the longest in western Asia, and to store water for irrigation purposes. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was a source of livelihood for fishermen in the area. Located just a few miles from the city of Karbala, the man-made lake also used to be a recreational spot for locals and tourists.

Present day Iraq, known as the “Land Between the Two Rivers”, located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the historical region of Mesopotamia, was part of the Fertile Crescent region, one of the cradles of civilization thanks to the rich soils and access to water from the rivers.

The country is now experiencing a water scarcity crisis: water infrastructure has degraded over decades due to neglect and war damage, while the construction of dams in upstream Turkey and Syria has reduced the flow in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Compounding the problem, climate change has led to warmer temperatures and irregular rainfall. Drought conditions are affecting agriculture production, fisheries and drinking water sources, threatening seven million people

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