Why Iraq's great rivers are dying

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Description
And the timing couldn't be worse.

Iraq gets almost all of its water from two rivers: The Tigris and the Euphrates. Both begin in Turkey and make their way down the entire length of the country, before emptying into the Persian Gulf. The problem is - they are drying up.

There are two main reasons for this. The first is geographical: Since both rivers begin in Turkey, Iraq doesn’t have control of how much water it receives. In the last 30 years, Turkey, Syria, and Iran have been building hundreds of dams along both rivers. Now only a quarter of the Euphrates reaches Iraq. Secondly, Iraq has been stuck in conflict for the last 16 years. In each case, the delicate network of treatment plants, dams, canals, and pipes has been repeatedly destroyed and neglected.

All of this has boiled over in the city of Basra - at Iraq’s southern tip. Last summer, after hundreds were poisoned by the water - riots erupted and were deeply destabilizing for the new Iraqi government. If Iraq is to rebuild, it needs to get fresh water to its people - a challenge that is getting harder every year.

💬 Comments on the video

Thank you for watching today's Vox Atlas! I wanted to leave a note about our process since so many of you have asked. First of all, yes, Atlas takes a TON of research and reporting. Thankfully I have a talented team of journalists beside me to make it all possible.

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Author — Vox


That's upsetting. These rivers are so important to human history!

Author — Roll0112358


Iraq : I want water
America : Shut up, you want a democracy

Author — Mr. Sajjad


Who needs fresh drinking water when you have democracy

Author — Younan Younan


The US military destroyed Iraq totally and then they just left. They can blame corruption for the failure of reconstruction, but Iraq people are suffering.

Author — Z. Zhengzhou


im from Iraq, this video is like bullets hitting my body every second, really painful
one day we will rebuild back the great land of Mesopotamia and everyone will be welcome to come and experience our hospitality.

Author — Psycho Active


Mesopotamia is literally the first thing you learn about in ancient civilisation. The Tigris and Euphrates drying up cannot be tolerated

Author — Iyad Naseer


"If your enemies are united, divide them"
-Sun Tzu

Author — Richard Jay Fuentes


Again a historically rich and wealthy land destroyed by the “Great” USA

Author — Emre Demir


the USA should pay for the reparation of Iraq

Author — Keyan cent


Im from Iraq 🇮🇶/Basra city 🌃 and this video is so true ... and it hurts to see the country of first civilization like this cuz of government and people themselves too... I would say thank you a lot for this video vox salute❤️🇮🇶

Author — MSA 4 IT


No clean water, no electricity (blackouts happen 4+ times a day and most of the electricity comes from private generators), No reliable internet structure, no road maintenance, no good hospitals, and most (not all) of iraqis want to get out of the country. truly sad.
Thanks Vox for reporting on this unheard of yet important subject

Author — The Dark Sword


As an Iraqi, I really appreciated you guys covering this crisis. MORE people need to know about this.

Author — universe36


An Iraqi born in Baghdad

My house was a mile away from the Tigris river

I feel broken watching this...

Author — Naruru - Art Dump Station


You are reporting with details about iraq and other countries just like you've lived there for entire of your life time !!
Great job
An iraqi citizen..

Author — A H


you realize that the people in iraq were doing better before the u.s. came than they were after

Author — Daphne Lin


Lack of water goes along with democracy, the more democracy the less water and the more problems for the country.

Author — world watcher


I can only imagine how beautiful Iraq once was. I pray to see it restored to such ❤️

Author — Sebastian Olmsted


as an Iraqi was born in Basra and lived there his entire life, i really wanna thank you for making this amazing video. it really letting the world know about what’s going on in the great city of Basra. 🇮🇶 Much appreciated, Vox.

Author — ibo


"Tigris and Eufrat will dry when apocalypse come closer". That was what Muhammad said 1400 years ago.
The Arabs was not believing that because those rivers were hearts of Persian Empire and never running out of water.

Author — Renato Fauzi