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Tigris and Euphrates River Project Goals and Timeline (redirected from T- Maps)

Page history last edited by nixonbl@dukes.jmu.edu 10 years, 7 months ago








The challenge within the Tigris Euphrates River Basin is the sustainable and equitable management of water resources among the three countries of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Due to upstream infrastructure projects and water withdrawals in Turkey, the available water to the downstream countries is poorly managed causing a deficit of demand versus supply. Water management has been a struggle to reach equitable resources to these countries and is exacerbated by the arid climate’s tendency for droughts, traditional irrigation practices, and civil unrest. The history of the river basins, political struggles, climate, water usage, and social factors that all must be considered and understood to tackle the water crisis that plagues this region, and possible solutions for this valued resource. Currently the total consumption within the river basin is 107 billion cubic meters, while the total supply is 84 billion cubic meters, leaving a deficit of 23 billion cubic meters as displayed in the water deficit graph under setting the scene.


Proposed solutions to achieve the goals are:

1) Update irrigation practices

2) Tri-country treaties between the countries

3) Oil for water trade



Time Line


     The time line for the furrow irrigation, can range between one growing season, up to three years, depending on the amount of farmers that will be willing to change their irrigation practices. As for the tri-country treaties, setting up a defined timeline is difficult in this particular situation.  The three nations involved must come to a consensus on how to regulate the water flow along the rivers so that each gets their equitable share. Regulations and water management practices could possibly be changed within months, to a few years, depending upon how willing each government is to cooperate and how capable they are to act. For example, right now Syria is in a position of political turmoil, due to the Arab Spring movement, making it hard for them to organize enough to act. Whereas Iraq is recently coming out of foreign occupation and is more focused on establishing a stable government and not as much on specific policies. While Turkey is the only truly stable government at the moment and they control the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, they are going to have to be the first ones to act. However Turkey has very little incentive to act, leading to a gridlock in estimating an accurate timeline.


Goals Timeline
Short Term Irrigation 1 to 3 years
Long Term Irrigation 3 to 5 years
Treaties unknown
Oil for Water Trade 3 to 5 years

Table 2. Displays the timeline for the proposed goals.



Assumptions and Constraints


      There are obstacles to consider before reaching these desired goals and solving the water crisis problem in the Tigris Euphrates river basin. Constraints such as deeply rooted political issues between the riparian nations limit the level of compromise we can allow for a tripartisan international treaty. The focus for eventual solutions requires the attention of such concerns and tolerance for working around these circumstances. Some assumptions, however, will be ever-changing variables which are partly what makes this problem so definitive. The unpredictability of annual flow along both rivers, due to the high possibility of droughts and heat waves make it difficult to determine future trends and planning of inlet flow quantities. It can also be considered from historical records, that this unpredictability has posed poor habits of water management in this region. Unsteady annual flow rates make it more difficult to motivate farmers and agriculturalists for more efficient technologies and updated irrigation techniques. Not just limited to agricultural, this also does create a compelling argument for government officials to provide funding.


     What we must take from these factors is that we are working with an arid region which will always be affecting the water resources available to the basin. Water scarcity is not the problem of this region. It is the cause of the many effects that make the water management issue so difficult to solve. The riparian nations must first understand that availability of water will not fix itself unless all countries are working together and considering the basin as an entire system.





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