The economic case for sustaining the marshes of southern Mesopotamia

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Azzam Alwash

Publication Date:

With limited water resources, there is increasing demand on water from various stakeholders in Iraq. Upstream stakeholders use the water for agriculture using sumerian flood irrigation techniques. These irrigation techniques were adequate when there was a flood pulse that healed the farmlands from salt, however, with building dams upstream, floods have stopped and the agricultural lands in Iraq have become more saline with time, reducing productivity. In order to provide an incentive for decision makers to dedicate adequate water resources for the marshes, Nature Iraq in 2008 conducted a series of interviews with 256 families throughout the central marshes to evaluate the economic output form the central marshes and compare that to the productivity of farms. In 2016 a smaller effort was conducted to update the numbers, and in both cases, there are convincing data that prove that the economic output from water (especially marginal water) invested in the marshes has equal or better results for the overall economy   summary of both studies will be presented.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration