Water conflict between Turkey Syria Iraq
Globalization has caused inequalities and differences that result from human rights abuse, territorial expansion, and violence which leaves the poor nations and their people fighting for their basic needs of water and shelter. According to the World Watch Institute, new conflicts are developing and these are steered by the privatization policies by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who flawed in funding projects of dam constructions that have ended up in the creation of further protests, violence, and regional tensions. The causative factors of global avid water consumption are endless war conflicts, uncontrolled population growth, poor water supply management that is inconsiderate and agricultural policies that are ill-advised. In the recent years, the water crisis has been a causative agent of the Middle East regional conflicts and disputes; and thus, plays a vital role in negotiations.
Surprisingly enough, these Middle East Countries are riparian downstream countries and water is a scarce resource. The main tributaries of Euphrates are Murat and Karasu with their origin in the Eastern Anatolia. According to the estimate of the various riparian countries, the total water potential estimates at 35. 58 billion cubic meters per year and the consumption targets are estimated at 52. 92 billion cubic meters annually. The estimates also suggest that Turkey has the largest Euphrates water potential, compared to Syria and Iraq; the latter with zero runoff contribution. 1 percent and 51. 9 percent contribution, respectively. Similar to the consumption targets of the Euphrates basin, Iraq and Syria have the higher utilization targets than their contribution. Consequently, Turkey utilizes a considerably small amount with regards to its contribution from its territory.
The amount of water estimated to be consumed by the various Tigris riparian countries exceeds its annual river capacity by 5. Marginal value can be ripped from the fourth category, and the fifth category represents a small yield that would be accompanied by considerable investment. The last category is infertile land, with irrigation considered. In this regard, the Turkish land is of the first three categories while in Syria, only 48 percent of the land is within these categories, yet it’s irrigated using water from the Euphrates (Gleick, P. H. , 1994, p. The river has its water capacity utilized for irrigation by Syria and Lebanon, with lesser consumption in the latter country. The river, therefore, enters the Turkish border has been heavily used by Syria.
Out of the potential 1. 2billion cubic meters, only 120million cubic meters of water enters the Turkish border (Gleick, P. H. Conflicts were evident when plans to construct the Karakaya and Keban dams were proposed in the 1960s. Additionally, Iraq and Syria accuse Turkey of violation of the International Law Commission draft article that has never attained legal binding status. They accuse Turkey of failing to notify them of the proposed water installations. Nevertheless, such information has been detailed in the Joint Technical Committees (JTC) meetings in which all the three countries are represented; thus the planned water schemes by Turkey are clear to Iraq and Syria (Jongerden, J. , 2010, p. This meant partial interruption of water flow into the neighboring countries, and a longer time to fill the dam.
However, Syria and Iraq still accused Turkey of deliberate deprivation of water and international cause of damage. The other objection from Syria and Iraq was the plan to build an after-bay dam, the Birecik dam, which would regulate the fluctuations in the release of the water from the Ataturk dams due to the changing energy demands. It was a proposed regulator similar to after-bay dams constructed in Syria in downstream of major hydroelectric power dams. For example, the Al-Baath Dam is constructed in the downstream of Tabqa dam and the Baghdadi dam, immediately after Qadisiya dam. Additionally, Syria accuses Turkey of sponsoring projects that are geared towards achieving its political power in the Middle East, especially the mega projects on water distribution and hydroelectric power generation.
In terms of international law, Syria proposes that international observers should be available during the basin state negotiations so that international bodies like the UN can enforce sanctions of the riparian countries that are against the water resource sharing procedures (McCaffrey, S. C. , 1988, p. In ethical perspective, the sharing concept by Iraq and Syria is only aimed at guaranteeing them water for their own projects and not geared towards equitable utilization of the basin. , 2000, p. b) A joint inventory of the available land and water resources need to be done using the same data collection, evaluation and interpretation methods to reduce the disparities shown by the inventories done by independent countries(Altunışık, M. B. , and Tür, Ö,p. In conclusion, the steps taken by Turkey in the quest for equitable utilization would create a positive atmosphere conducive for the riparian countries to cooperate in managing their water supply and consumption, and also in managing other natural resources geared towards mutual benefit.
Gleick, P. H. Water, war & peace in the Middle East. Environment: science and policy for sustainable development, 36(3), pp. Jongerden, J. Water Resources Management Series, 2, pp. McCaffrey, S. C. The law of international watercourses: some recent developments and unanswered questions. Denv. Pictures Water Data and Land acreage Map of Tiger and Euphrates Rivers Sources of water for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (MWR, 2010) Aerial view of the irrigable land by the Euphrates Basin About 100 km from its source, the Tigris enables rich agriculture outside Diyarbakır, Turkey. Atatürk Dam in Turkey is one of the largest earth-and-rock fill dams One of the biggest challenges now is to establish transboundary water cooperation in the midst of current state of affairs in the Euphrates-Tigris river basin.
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