August 3, 2021 | finance & economy

Water Governance in Basra

In summer 2018 protests erupted in Basra amidst a water contamination crisis, with over 100,000 admitted to hospital by the end of October.

While the grievances aired included chronic corruption and unemployment, the toxic waters, clogged with sewage and other waste, served as the focus of people's anger.

The public health emergency in Basra was only one manifestation of a water supply crisis in the governorate, which has also seen a collapse in agricultural yields as a result of increased water salinity, lower river levels and reduced rainfall.

These physical impacts mask a longer-term deterioration of water governance in Basra, which has roots in previous decades of armed conflict and sanctions, as well as upstream damming of the Tigris, Euphrates and Karun rivers.


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