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Shrinking Shatt al-Arab Delta, Iraq and Iran

30.4N 47.8E

December 22nd, 2012 Category: Wetlands

Iraq and Iran – December 17th, 2012

Visible in the upper left quadrant of this image is the delta of the Shatt al-Arab, is a river in Southwest Asia of some 200 km (120 mi) in length, formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers in southern Iraq. The southern end of the river constitutes the border between Iraq and Iran down to the mouth of the river as it discharges into the Persian Gulf.

The fertile lands in and around the delta have shrunk since the late 1970s due to bilateral negligence and water mining. In Iraq, marsh drainage during Saddam Hussein’s rule began an environmental catastrophe, and since the USA invasion of Iraq, there has been very little action on water management front. Iran has also instituted an active damming policy on Karun river, making for a drastic reduction in water flow for Shatt al-Arab and a rise of salinity levels.

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