Sustainability of engineered rivers in arid lands
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CitationKibaroglu, A. (August 2021). The Euphrates-Tigris River Basin in Schmandt, J. Kibaroglu, A., & Thomas, S. (eds.) Sustainability of Engineered Rivers In Arid Lands Challenge and Response, Cambridge University Press. p. 94-107. http://assets.cambridge.org/97811084/17037/frontmatter/9781108417037_frontmatter.pdf
The water question emerged on the international agenda in the Euphrates–Tigris (ET) basin when the three riparian nations, namely Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, initiated major water and land resources development projects in the late 1960s. The political linkages established between transboundary water issues and nonriparian security issues also exacerbated the disagreements over water sharing and allocation. In 1987 and 1990, two bilateral Euphrates water sharing protocols were negotiated. They are acknowledged by all riparian states as being interim agreements. However, these bilateral accords failed to include basic components of sustainable water resources management, namely water quality management, environmental protection, and stakeholder engagement. In the early 1980s, the Euphrates–Tigris basin countries created an institutional framework, namely the Joint Technical Committee. However, they did not empower the committee with a clear and jointly agreed mandate. Instead, the riparian countries continued unilateral and uncoordinated water and land development ventures. Impacts of climate change add to the already complex list of management shortcomings. The basin is one of the most affected regions. The findings of science project significant decreases in the Tigris and Euphrates flows. Examining the water–food–energy nexus in the ET basin is important because there are serious pressures on the river system due to population growth, agricultural practices, hydropower development, and ecosystem mismanagement. We recommend that transboundary institutions should apply the nexus approach, which helps to identify key development drivers as well as to unpack and clarify the development challenges and necessary tradeoffs in the basin. Sustainability of water resources requires stability, cooperation, and peace. The sub-state level conflicts and illegal control of water resources and water infrastructure in the basin deprive people of access to sufficient clean water, energy, and food resources in Syria and Iraq. The prerequisites for establishing or restoring sustainability in a river basin include stability as well as establishing participatory, transparent, inclusive, and accountable governance structures.