Water shortages causes 100,000 to flee homes in Iraq: UN
Paris (AFP) Oct 13, 2009
More than 100,000 people in northern Iraq have abandoned their homes since 2005 because of water stress, after drought and over-extraction of groundwater caused the collapse of an ancient water system, UNESCO said on Tuesday.
"Drought and excessive well pumping have drawn down aquifer levels in the region, causing a dramatic decline of water flow in ancient underground aqueducts" known as karez, the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said.
The karez system, designed in ancient Persia to cope with an arid climate, is a man-made underground system that for centuries has provided Iraqis with drinking water and irrigation needs.
A single karez is able to provide water for nearly 9,000 individuals and 200 hectares (500 acres) of farm land, the UN agency said in a press release.
The system, already badly affected by political turmoil and neglect, has been dealt a devastating blow by over-pumping of aquifers by modern wells at a time of drought, UNESCO said.
Since the onset of the drought four years ago, 70 percent of the functioning karez in northern Iraq have dried up, specialists found. By August this year, only 116 of 683 karez systems in northern Iraq were still functioning.
"The rapid decline of karez is forcing entire communities to abandon their homes in the pursuit of new sources of water," it said.
"Population declines have averaged almost 70 percent among the communities adversely affected since 2005."
It added: "An additional 36,000 people are on the brink of abandoning their homes if conditions do not rapidly improve.
"Beyond the trickle of water that they receive from their karez, these people are relying on water tanks, which must be refilled several times by trucks travelling long distances, or pumped wells, which often need to be dug deeper. For many, neither option is financially viable."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
Astana, Kazakhstan (UPI) Oct 12, 2009
From aboard a space station a red-nosed clown has called to protect the world's scarce drinking water resources. Guy Laliberte, the Canadian circus tycoon, on Sept. 30 boarded a Russian Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft to rocket into space with his red clown's nose and a pledge to bring attention to water issues. On Sunday, the clown and three astronauts landed safely in the Kazakh steppe after ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2009 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|