Committee of Education and Scientific Research


Samah Ibrahim

Brunel University




Considerable literature exists on Climate change and water sources related, but limited attention has been considered vulnerability and mitigation in association with socio-economic and agriculture implication especially in the region of Iraq where Tigris and Euphrates rivers streamed.

Mesopotamia is large region centred between Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in modern Iraq, formed the first civilization that thrive between 3000 B.C.E and 300 B.C.E. (Al-Ansari,N., Adamo,N., Knutsson,S. ,Laue,J., 2018).

Tigris and Euphrates are the longest two rivers in Southwest Asia alongside the river Nile. The Basins of these waterways cover around 917103km2 which is involved by around 46 million occupants. Four nations share the bowl region of Tigris River (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) and four different nations share the catchment region of Euphrates stream (Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia).(AL-Ansari, Nadhir, 2013)


This articles attended to highlight the terms vulnerability and mitigation with respect to water quality and flow in river Tigris and river Euphrates that has been diminishing due the development of dams in the upstream parts of the basins (south western side of Turkey). Drawing from causes of intervention of research available sources to address the current vulnerabilities for future Mitigation approach and enhanced the regional water management by considering the Causes of Water quality deterioration statements.


Decision maker will determine relevant region vulnerability terms required different measures to preserve the requirement standard and meet with the Human health and environmental stressors.


Key words:
Mitigation, Vulnerability, Tigris, Euphrates, Iraq, Droughts, desertification, Mesopotamia, irrigation, salinity



  • This paper develops ecosystem vulnerability understanding and identify Mitigation aspect.
  • This paper considers natural, human, economic and social element warning to identify the undesirable changes in water quality and flow of Tigris River and Euphrates River in Iraq.


  1. Vulnerability and Mitigation

Vulnerability and Mitigation are not two close-related ideas. The term vulnerability refers to damage disposition due to lack of protection or precariousness or the danger of being affected by a negative impact. It could also be identified as the possible attributes of a system to respond poorly to the occurrence of hazardous events.

Vulnerability of the ecosystem very complicated in term of to evaluate data from region as Iraq, the attributes data is very significant step in the vulnerable term. It can be an indication of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity supports enable analysis of the atmospheric environment vulnerability.


While environmental mitigation is the process of addressing the impacts to the environment caused by human action. The term itself refer to the limiting and its overlap with the environment management system in place in its approach to preventing or reduce the effect of the disasters by mitigate the cause and the cost of it. Understanding the term mitigation also help in controlling economic damage and losses to property by minimising the long terms after-effect disaster. It may require new technologies, clean energy sources, people’s behaviour to be changed. For that, Mitigation measures must be translated into action in the correct way at the right time to act successfully. The objective of the mitigation is to:


  • Enhance the environmental and social benefits.
  • Avoid, minimise adverse impacts
  • Ensure the residual impacts are kept within acceptable level
  • Find better alternative ways of doing things


Therefore, vulnerabilities can be change over time and space, creating new opportunities and new distresses, they can also follow certain patterns (Wisner et al., 2004). Whether Mitigation can be overlapping when environmental management terms come across with contrasts of the Infrastructure, ecological (natural) resources and public health.

  1. Climate change

The term Climate Change has become the hot topic around the Globe for politics, media, activists and lengthy discussions. The Earth temperature at the centre of the global warming and has become recognisable in large scale.

Climate change contribute to the significant impacts on the hydrological cycle and water resources. In Iraq, loss of crop, desertification, drought, health sector, eco-social, economic, conflicts and development in general all generate an environmental and political vulnerable region (Adamo and Al-Ansari, 2018).

Statement of vulnerability of Tigris and Euphrates:

  1. Construction of Dams

The constructed dams in Turkey within the GAP development project have a total storage capacity of 100km3 while the reservoirs of Syria have a capacity of 16.1 km3. The rate of evaporation has increased in an arid and semi-arid areas. These also cause salinity level increases within the lower parts of Tigris River and Shatt Al-Arab in the southern of Iraq.

The return water flow from irrigation project negatively affected the water quality especially within the Euphrates basin (A. N. Al-Ansari Nadhir, 2017).

  1. Water availability

This is primarily because of the development of dams in the upper parts of the catchment area of Tigris and Euphrates and climate change (Al-Ansari, 2013; N. AL-Ansari, 3; Osman, Al-Ansari and Abdellatif, 2017). Significant consequences are predictable (e.g. 71% of the water of the Euphrates River is from precipitation in Turkey) (UNDP, 2010) where further suggest in lower precipitation escorted with higher temperatures.(Al-Ansari Nadhir, Knutsson Sven, Almuqdadi Kadhim, 2014), such disorder will lead to more drought periods and evaporation (UNDP, 2010; Hameed Maysoun, Ahmadalipour Ali, Moradkhani Hamid, 2018).


Regardless the number the given and recorded, Turkey claim that the areas of water per capita in Iraq and Syria are adequate to satisfy the prerequisites of individuals in these nations.(Altinbilek *, 2007).


The saltiness of Tigris River has turned out to be disturbing downstream Baghdad and Southern part of Iraq, while Euphrates water quality weakens before entering the Iraqi boundary.(Al-Ansari, Nadhir A., 2013).

  1. Population growth

The Middle East population development are generally high especially Iraq and Syria.(Drake, 2007).

However, population gathering data should be considered for those with attributes such as population density, proportion of vulnerable groups. This shape of disharmony status with increasing population and resource depletion.

The countries that lie within Tigris and Euphrates basins (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) their total population is 221.53 million inhabitants. (Worldmeters, 2018a; Worldmeters, 2018b; Worldmeters, 2018c; Worldmeters, 2018d). This percentage are expected to increase by 10% in 2025 and more likely 37% in 2050.


There are a several ways that disasters and water-related hazards come to affect the society. Also poverty and vulnerability are not always correlated, meanwhile when natural process interact with social process to produce vulnerabilities and suffering.


Scarcity, Desertification, Drought produce the disaster, disruption and suffering. As latter often more people suffer severe hardship. Overall, these type of water-related disaster have generated impacts generally control engineering emphasize and infrastructural interventions in managing such a disaster, whereas coping focuses on the indigenous and socially mediated efforts of people to cope with droughts and mitigate its impacts (Adamo and Al-Ansari, 2018)

  1. Health

Illnesses such as diarrhoea and dysentery are common, usually from the consumption of contaminated water and food. The need to provide water, food and care during floods and disasters generally re have to go through considerable difficulty in the provision of safe drinking water for their families mains.

People have to go through considerable difficulty in the provision of safe drinking water for their families during disasters, and figure out how to ensure that polluted floodwaters do not contaminate any clean drinking water they may have been able to fetch. Treating water (by boiling it) when there is a scarcity of fuelwood poses a severe challenge. Water collection is particularly difficult during times of extreme drought. In instances of no nearby safe water options (A. N. Al-Ansari Nadhir, 2017)

  1. Agriculture and Irrigation

Riparian is beneficial for rural livelihoods and agrarian economies, enriching the floodplains, agriculture and fisheries.

Water shortage in Iraq contribute to the unrealistic of food self-sufficiency aspiration and required urgent water management system to be outlook. Demand in water and food increasing in reflect of population growth and the raising of the temperature to hit it highest in summer season (N. AL-Ansari, 3).

Turkey is trying to convert the area of GAP and this threaten the irrigation, agricultural potential in Iraq and Syria depend on (Hillel, 1994).

Iraq and Syria known as a capable countries to produce grain for export but less then Turkey. Many people start join insurgents so that they can survive water scarcity as their livestock had died (Hoffman, 2006) thus, create space for greater focus on the vulnerabilities as an newly appear definition on the Iraq’s landscape to form a coping mechanisms so people can survive,

In contrast, bring into greater relief the power relations in water management planning processes.  (E.g. fisheries and agriculture),

As water bodies that are important fishing grounds when water storage areas disappear (Adamo and Al-Ansari, 2018)

Lack of water connecting the many waterways and replenishing ponds can result in declining fish stock and fisheries, which is an enormously important source of protein for the rural poor as well as a source of income.

  1. Wastewater

In Iraq 14 cities, with 252 water treatment plants with capacity of 350000m3/day that provide 8% of the population (World Bank). Most sewage systems need replacement, reconstructs, upgrade and rehabilitee 70% – 83% of the sewage water end up discharge directly to the two rivers (Al-Ansari,N., Adamo,N., Knutsson,S. ,Laue,J., 2018), beside the water discharge from industrial facilities and manufacturing area. Iraq has more than 137 active factories on the bank of Tigris and Euphrates (Geopolicity, 2010)

  1. Solid waste

In Iraq, solid waste are generated regularly and are not been dumped properly in landfill area instead end up disposed on water surface of the both rivers with no poor system of regulation and no policy to mitigate robust a correct practice (Al Bomola, 2011)

  1. Economic

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Iraq is oil exporting country, while Syria started oil exporting in 2001 and Turkey has no oil reserves. For this reason, Turkey is trying to mitigate there dependence on oil important as the main source of energy, and to achieve this goal, Turkey trying to use hydroelectric power to cover that (Akanda, Freeman and Placht, 2007).

The rapid increase in oil price globally increase the stranded living and economic development in Iraq and Syria (Abumoghli, 2015) , while Iraq and Syria effected by ISIS and the corruption for the past few years. The two countries raised their need for water in respect of those devastated phases (Akanda, Freeman and Placht, 2007; Al-Ansari,N., Adamo,N., Knutsson,S. ,Laue,J., 2018)

Accessible water assets cannot meet the population needs.(Shahin, 2007)  And the area become one of the most vulnerable to climate change.(Tolba and Saab, 2009).


Climate change and environmental changes is evident on global scale. Courtiers in the Middle East and Iraq duffer from water shorter problem. Four main countries (Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq) depend on the water basin of Tigris and Euphrates. In Iraq problem escalated with global warming boarder countries constructing dams in Turkey and Iran (Adamo and Al-Ansari, 2018).

The present paper studies the drastic decline of Tigris and Euphrates resources insight within the vulnerability, thereby increasing the vulnerabilities of people who may be exposed to more and mitigation terms.

Water management need to be actionized to mitigate future increased in water shortage.


The results showed that the developed framework can serve as a tool for targeting the implementation of policies and practices aimed at reducing vulnerability


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