By Muhammad Atty
BASSARA, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraq is dealing with extreme water shortages which have price crop growers and meals producers like Iraqi fish farmer Qassem Karam their livelihoods.
Strolling throughout the dusty grounds within the noon warmth of southern Basra province, Karam factors to the dry carp ponds irrigated alongside the Shatt al-Arab River.
“Now all the pieces is salted due to the dearth of water and air pollution,” he stated, pointing to white salt crusts close by.
“These ponds price us lots of time, cash and vitality. We had financial plans, however they have been all destroyed.”
Upstream dams in Turkey and Iran have diminished flows on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which kind the Shatt al-Arab, in addition to local weather change-induced waste water dumping and poor rainfall, specialists and officers stated.
Decrease water ranges additionally elevated evaporation and made the water extra salty.
Karam and three different fish farmers interviewed by Reuters stated the dearth of appropriate water is driving them out of what was as soon as a thriving and worthwhile enterprise.
In accordance with Basra Agriculture Directorate official Abbas Dakiel, solely 4 licensed fish farms proceed to function this 12 months, versus 15 in 2020.
“This water is inexperienced, soiled and polluted. No fish can dwell on this water,” stated Karam, kneeling by the hose that irrigates the pond.
He stated the fish are actually both sick, unable to develop or lifeless consequently.
Jumaa Shea, head of Basra’s water sources directorate, stated the 1.3 million metropolis ought to share its dwindling water sources with home customers, in agriculture, the oil business and energy technology.
To preserve water, authorities have taken measures together with closing down 95 unauthorized fish farms in Basra.
(Reporting by Mohamed Ati; Writing by Charlotte Bruno; Enhancing by Alexandra Hudson)