'Fertile Crescent' Doomed by Century's End

Water projects and diversion efforts in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria are draining the marshlands near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, known as the 'Fertile Crescent'.
July 29, 2009, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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The Fertile Crescent will be dry by the end of the century, according to scientists.

"Tensions have been growing since May, when the Iraqi parliament refused to approve a new much-needed trade deal with Turkey unless it contained binding clauses on river flows. But Turkey appears in no mood to compromise. In July, it announced the final go-ahead for yet another dam, the Ilisu on the Tigris.

Meanwhile, according to Hassan Partow at the UN Environment Programme, Iraq's hydrological misery is compounded by Iran, which is also building new dams on tributaries of the Tigris. "Some of these rivers have run completely dry," he told New Scientist. And Iraq itself is set to worsen the problem with its own dam building, he says."

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Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 in New Scientist
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