Drought and poor management of resources have led to financial hardship, protests and
strained relationships across the region. Governments were warned but did not act,
writes Richard Spencer
The Tigris is at its lowest recorded level as drought and water shortages hit much of the Middle East.
The Times, July 4 2018, 5:00pm
In Baghdad you can wade across the River Tigris for the first time in recorded history.
In northwest Iran, pleasure boats lie idle and rusting in a bed of salt that was once the magnificent and
huge Lake Urmia, the waters they used to ply having receded so far into the distance that they are out of sight.
In Syria, water shortages have come full circle. A decade ago a drought, exacerbated by poor water management,
in the Euphrates valley forced hundreds of thousands of people off the land, into the poorer quarters of its ancient cities.
Periods of drought punctuated by years of rain. The qanat is the outcome of ingenuity and adaptation to cyclical drought and scarcity, making it a prime example of how water scarcity can force people to work together sustainably. Despite centuries of continuous flows, by 2000 the tunnel of Shallalah Saghirah had severely deteriorated because it had not been maintained since the 1980s.