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Area: 5888268 km2
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $15,626,217,748.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $2,054,732,530.00 - [13%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $2,152,956,504.00 - [14%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $1,914,018,512.00 - [12%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $6,245,356.00 - [0%]
  • Water Scarcity: $6,893,895,221.00 - [44%]
  • Water Management: $2,604,369,625.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Local Water Resource Governance
Access to Water Supply and Water Services
Physical water supply
Compliance with Local Regulations and Widely-Accepted Standards
Socioeconomic and Reputation
Water Demand and Competition among Users
Water Pricing

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Both the Tigris and the Euphrates are transboundary rivers, originating in Turkey. Before their confluence the Euphrates flows for about 1,000km and the Tigris for about 1,300km within the territory of Iraq. The area of the Tigris River Basin in Iraq is 253,000km2, which is 54 per cent of the total river basin area. The average annual runoff is estimated at 21.33km3 as it enters Iraq. All the Tigris tributaries are on the left bank. From upstream to downstream: -The Greater Zab, which originates in Turkey. It generates 13.18km3 at its confluence with the Tigris; 62 per cent of the total area of this river basin of 25,810km2 is in Iraq; -The Lesser Zab, which originates in the Islamic Republic of Iran and which is equipped with the Dokan Dam (6.8km3). The river basin of 21,475km2 (of which 74 per cent is in Iraqi territory) generates about 7.17km3, of which 5.07km3 is of annual safe yield after construction of the Dokan Dam; -The Al-Adhaim (or Nahr Al Uzaym), which drains about 13,000km2 entirely in Iraq. It generates about 0.79km3 at its confluence with the Tigris. It is an intermittent stream subject to flash floods; -The Diyala, which originates in the Islamic Republic of Iran and drains about 31,896km2, 75 per cent of which in Iraqi territory. It is equipped with the Derbendi Khan Dam and generates about 5.74km3 at its confluence with the Tigris; -The Nahr at Tib, Dewarege (Doveyrich) and Shehabi rivers, draining together more than 8,000km2. They originate in Iranian territory and bring together about 1km3 of highly saline waters in the Tigris; -The Karkheh, the main course of which is in the Islamic Republic of Iran and which, from a drainage area of 46,000km2, brings around 6.3km3 yearly into Iraq, namely into the Hawr Al Hawiza during the flood season and into the Tigris River during the dry season. The average annual flow of the Euphrates as it enters Iraq is estimated at 30km3, with a fluctuating annual value of between 10 and 40km3. Unlike the Tigris, the Euphrates receives no tributaries during its passage in Iraq. About 10km3 per year are drained into the Hawr al Harnmar (a marsh in the south of the country). The Shatt Al-Arab is the river formed by the confluence downstream of the Euphrates and the Tigris; it flows into the Gulf after a course of only 190km. The Karun River, originating in Iranian territory, has a mean annual flow of 24.7km3 and flows into the Shatt AlArab, to which it brings a large amount of fresh water just before reaching the sea. It is difficult to determine the average annual discharge of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers together due to the large yearly fluctuation. According to the records for 1938–1980, there have been years in the mid-1960s when 68km3 were recorded in the two rivers and years in the mid-1970s when the amount reached over 84km3. On the other hand, there was the critical drought year with less than 30km3 at the beginning of the 1960s. Such variations in annual discharge make it difficult to develop an adequate water allocation plan for competing water demand from each sector as well as to ensure fair sharing of water among neighbouring countries (UNDG, 2005). This yearly fluctuation in the annual discharge has also caused large and possibly disastrous floods as well as periodic severe droughts. The level of water in the Tigris can rise at a rate of over 30cm/hour. In the southern part of the country, immense areas are regularly inundated, levees often collapse, and villages and roads must be built on high embankments. The Tharthar Reservoir was planned in the 1950s, partly to protect Baghdad from the ravages of the periodic flooding of the Tigris by storing extra water upstream of the Samarra Barrage. The major part of the river flow occurs during the spring flood period, which is from February through June on the Tigris River and from March through July on the Euphrates River. On the Tigris the natural flow during this period makes up 60–80 per cent of the total annual flow and on the Euphrates 45–80 per cent. During the low water period (July through September) the natural flow does not exceed 10 per cent of the annual amount under normal conditions. In order to increase water transport efficiency, minimize losses and waterlogging, and improve water quality, a number of new watercourses were constructed, especially in the southern part of the country. The Third River (also called Saddam River), which was completed in 1992, functions as a main outfall drain collecting drainage waters from more than 15,000km2 of agricultural land from the north of Baghdad to the Gulf between the Euphrates and the Tigris. The length of the watercourse, completed in December 1992, is 565km, with a total discharge of 210m3/s. In 1995 an estimated 17 million tons of salt was said to have been transported to the Gulf through the Third River. Other watercourses were also constructed to reclaim new lands or to reduce waterlogging. Groundwater aquifers in Iraq consist of extensive alluvial deposits of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and are composed of Mesopotamian-clastic and carbonate formations. The alluvial aquifers have limited potential because of poor water quality. The Mesopotamian-clastic aquifers in the northwestern foothills consist of Fars, Bakhtiari and alluvial sediments. The Fars formation is made up of anhydrite and gypsum inter-bedded with limestone and covers a large area of Iraq. The Bakhtiari and alluvial formations consist of a variety of material, including silt, sand, gravel, conglomerate and boulders, with a thickness of up to 6,000m. Water quality ranges from 300 to 1,000ppm. Another major aquifer system is contained in the carbonate layers of the Zagros Mountains. Two main aquifers are found in the limestone and dolomite layers, as well as in the Quaternary alluvium deposits. The limestone aquifer contributes large volumes of water through a number of springs. The alluvial aquifers contain large volume reservoirs and annual recharge is Country Overview - Iraq estimated at 620 million m3 from direct infiltration of rainfall and surface water runoff. Water quality is good, ranging from 150 to 1,400ppm (ESCWA, 2001). Good quality subterranean water has been found in the foothills of the mountains in the northeast of the country and in the area on the right bank of the Euphrates. The aquifer in the northeast of Iraq has an estimated safe yield of between 10 to 40m3/sec at depths of 5–50m. Its salinity increases towards the southeast of the area until it reaches between 0.5 and 1mg/l. The aquifers on the right bank of the Euphrates River, trapped between gypsum and dolomite at depths increasing towards the west where water is found at 300m (at Abu-Aljeer), have an estimated safe yield of 13m3/sec. In the western part of that area the salinity of the water is only 0.3mg/l compared with 0.5–1mg/l in the eastern section. In other areas of the country good quality water is fairly limited because of high levels of salinity (Ministry of Irrigation, 1986). An estimated 0.08km3/year of water from the Umm er Radhuma aquifer enters Iraq from Saudi Arabia. Internal renewable water resources are estimated at 35.2km3/year. Total gross dam capacity of the major dams in the Tigris Basin is estimated at 102.2km3, of which on-river dam capacity is 29.4km3 (seven dams). The off-river storage Samarra-Tharthar Dam, constructed in 1954, has a capacity of 72.8km3. It is filled with Wadi Tharthar waters and, since 1985, also with Euphrates water. Total gross capacity of the major dams in the Euphrates Basin is estimated at 37.5km3, of which on-river dam capacity is 34.2km3. The off-river Ramadi-Habbaniya Dam, constructed in 1951, has a capacity of 3.3km3; it can be filled with upstream Euphrates waters and drains into the Euphrates downstream (UNEP, 2001a). There are 11 major wastewater treatment plants in Iraq, 3 of which are in Baghdad. All the treatment plants are located near rivers (three near the Euphrates, two near the Tigris, two near the Diala, and one each near the Kahla, the Aw Diwaniyah, the Husseinya and the Shatt Basrah). The total treatment capacity of these plants is 650,000 m3/day. The technologies used are primary sedimentation, aeration and secondary sedimentation (chlorination) at five plants; primary sedimentation, trickling filtering and chlorination at three plants; primary sedimentation, extended aeration and chlorination at two plants; aeration lagoons and secondary sedimentation at one plant (UNEP, 2001b). Until now, the majority of wastewater after treatment has been discharged into rivers and drainage canals by gravity and there is no definite canal network for wastewater collection. The two largest wastewater treatment plants were built in Baghdad County (Salih, 2001). The first, Al-Rustumia, was designed to handle an average flow of 204 million m3/year and the second, AlKarkh, handles an average flow of 150 million m3/year. Baghdad city is generally supplied by less saline drinking water (0.8–1.2 dS/m) and this salinity increases 2–3 times in the wastewater. It can therefore be used without creating any salinity and alkalinity problems except for very sensitive crops. The sodium concentration is rather low, resulting in a sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) ranging between 2.68 and 3.12 for the Al-Rustumia station and between 4.38 and 5.24 for the Al-Karkh station. The chloride content of wastewater of the Al-Karkh station is fairly high for surface irrigation and not recommended for sprinkler irrigation, while the chloride content of the AlRustomia station is appropriate for surface irrigation but generally inadequate for sprinkler irrigation. The bicarbonate content of wastewater from both stations is adequate for surface irrigation but inappropriate for sprinkler irrigation. The phosphorus and potassium contents of wastewater from both stations are fairly low. Contents of iron, magnesium, chromium, zinc, cobalt and boron in wastewater of both stations are generally within acceptable limits. In 2002, the total installed desalination capacity was 384,513 m3/day. This refers to the installed gross capacity (design capacity) (Wangnick Consulting, 2002). According to the European Union (2011), Iraq depends mainly on surface water from three renewable sources: the Euphrates, Tigris and Karun rivers. The Euphrates and the Tigris originate from Turkey and are shared with the two neighboring countries Turkey and Syria. The Karun originates from Iran. The average annual water flow of the three rivers varies between 45 and 75 billion m3. There are no international agreements to share the water between these three countries. This makes Iraq's water resources fluctuate from one year to another. Groundwater aquifers in Iraq consist of extensive alluvial deposits of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The alluvial aquifers contain large volume reservoirs and the annual recharge is estimated at 620 million m3 from direct infiltration of rainfall and surface water runoff. Groundwater withdrawals are small compared to surface water. Further exploitation of groundwater has a large potential but little data and analysis are available.

 (Water Risk Profile) 

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Organizations in Iraq

Alegria activity S.L. produces special purpose mobile units. These mobile units are special purpose vehicles used to deploy any kind of service directly and easily to any location and social community in order to conduct turn-key campaigns in HEALTH, EDUCATION, … Learn More

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is a partnership of some of the world’s leaders in sustainable water resource management, bringing together businesses, multilateral agencies, governments, civil society and communities to drive consensus-based actions on shared water risk. At the … Learn More

Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm with access to more than 3,000 consultants in over 100 offices around the world. Our Sustainability Practice brings together management consultants and technical experts offering solutions from strategy through implementation … Learn More

The company was founded for this moment, on a combined conviction in the power of human ingenuity and the potential of practical action to solve the problems of the decisive decade, and make sustainability happen. We believe that productivity and … Learn More

A Tanzania consulting firm on development issues including water, sanitation, energy and climate change. Learn More

Production of chemicals and equipment for potable water treatment and industrial water preparing. Learn More

ASMAN Software Solutions Private Limited is a provider of cutting edge software consultancy, design and development services with headquarters in Hyderabad, India. The company made its inception into the IT arena in 2011 and offers a comprehensive range of Software … Learn More

El grupo Biosfera, es un think tank en investigacion de futuros sustentables. (BIOSFERA, INVESTIGACIÓN DE FUTUROS) es un equipo de análisis cuyo core business es la investigación prospectiva para la construcción de futuros deseables (futurables), asociados a la sustentabilidad (planeamiento … Learn More

Blue Planet Network provides a technology platform for funders to easily select, monitor, and manage WASH projects that have been peer reviewed and vetted for quality and sustainability. Each member project must pass a rigorous peer review and planning process … Learn More

The Centre for Advanced Research &amp; Development (CARD) is a non-government agency established, in India, with its Head quarters in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh established in 1992. The CARD has been established to promote advanced research and to apply its … Learn More

Independent advisory company seeking to catalyse environmental investments Main focus areas within water issues: water and irrigation, water and sanitation, water and business risk Learn More

The Climate Connected Benefit Society is an industrial and provident society for the benefit of the community – a very simple funding vehicle, which allows ordinary, socially aware investors in the UK to put their capital to work in a … Learn More

Ingenieria y Consultoría Ambiental. Learn More

The Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) is an invitation-only membership organization for large companies that demonstrate a serious commitment to environment as a business strategy issue. CEF’s mission is to help accelerate sustainable business innovation by creating the best neutral space … Learn More

Main focus is SUDS retrofit to tackle flooding and water quality problems in the City of Coventry, UK, and to provide biodiversity and amenity benefits to wildlife and citizens. Coventry has Living Lab Status and the group includes Coventry University … Learn More

“IC Medicals” and “ The Emission” are two genetically integrated global internet projects about informational copies of substances and biological objects. DST Foundation initiated the integration of these phenomenal projects in August 2009 as they both are based on usage … Learn More

Deltares is an independent, institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Throughout the world, we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society. Our main focus is on deltas, coastal regions … Learn More

Earthwatch is an International NGO which focusses on scientific research and education about environmental issues. Earthwatch run FreshWater Watch, an employee engagement programme which raises awareness of fresh water issues through hands-on Citizen Science Leader training days. In addition to … Learn More

Developing European Environmental Policy The European Commission develops and implements EU policies by proposing laws to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union helping EU countries implement EU legislation managing the EU's budget and allocating funding ensuring that … Learn More

Future 500 is a non-profit consultancy that builds trust between companies, advocates, investors, and philanthropists to advance business as a force for good. Our organization formed in 1995 as a venue for corporations and environmental NGOs to debate the systemic … Learn More

Global Compact Local Network Learn More

Since its foundation in May 2007, HYTECON has generated an established market position within the field of consulting services for water and technical hygiene related aspects, focussing especially on innovative and customer-oriented solutions. A highly experienced team of microbiologists and … Learn More

Purpose of the organization is to promote socio, economic and cultural advancement of weaker sections by education, training, research and field action programs. Specific focus is to promote awareness on water sanitation among rural poor communities and help them to … Learn More

Currently celebrating its 42nd year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of … Learn More

IWMI is one of 15 international research centers supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations and international and regional organizations collectively known as CGIAR. It is a non-profit organization with a staff of 350 and offices in over … Learn More

BETTER public private partnership, with partner company John Todd Ecological Design, involved in sustainable water and wastewater and waste to food design and project development worldwide. See www.betterp3.com and www.toddecological.com Learn More

As we share our water with the entire planet, we feel that it is a precious resource. We monitor how we use water at our factories and are constantly working on ways to reduce our consumption of fresh water resources. … Learn More

NAQWA is a Russian company that develops and makes nano drinking water recoverers. Our product NAQWA SPRING Drinking Water Recoverer (NAQWA SWR, www.naqwa.com ) created and manufactured in Russia is intended to provide sustainable drinking water solutions first of all … Learn More

NVH's mission is to provide low cost, low energy solutions for sanitation and ground water pollution. NVH partners with the Indian Ministry of Defence Research Laboratory to commercialise for global use an effective biological process creating potable water as only … Learn More

Sunass regulates water and sewage companies, oversees quality of service standards, settles customer complaints and sets regulated prices. Learn More

A pioneer and the world-leading provider of Drip Irrigation solutions, Netafim is the largest player in the global irrigation industry. With 14 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries, 27 subsidiaries, and a strong global distribution network across 110-plus countries, Netafim combines … Learn More

We are an independent research institute that focuses on the legal challenges facing water supply infrastructure projects. The world's water infrastructure must adapt to climate change and extreme supply variations, and we research the legal road-blocks that stand in the … Learn More

The Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) is an autonomous organization, taking over the Sindh irrigation and drainage system from the Sindh Irrigation and Power Department. It was established in 1997, an innovative act to devolve power in the water … Learn More

We are Ukrainian company SOUZ-CONTINENT. Our company has advanced innovative, high-tech development projects to work with the water is getting the alternate energy and water purification. Very interested in mutually beneficial cooperation for the prosperity of the world community. Learn More

Christopher Gleadle brings Sustainability, and the Green Economy• to life and shows you how to capture, create and deliver more value: serve customers better, reduce costs and mitigate conspiring environmental and social risk to see opportunity for greater profit. His … Learn More

CAWST, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, is a non-profit organization that provides training and consulting to organizations that work directly with populations in developing countries who lack access to clean water and basic sanitation. CAWST "walks beside" … Learn More

The Coca-ColaCompany is the world's largest beverage company. The purpose of company is to refresh the world and make a difference. Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body … Learn More

Trucost provides data and insight to help its clients understand the economic consequences of natural capital dependency. Our clients include companies and their advisors, the investment community, governments, academics and thought leaders. Learn More

Research Learn More

VILLAGES UNIS est une ONG Suisse, reconnue d’utilité publique au N° 080.913007 date de la décision 18/12/2013 et basée dans la république et Canton de Genève Elle est active dans les domaines de la coopération au développement, à l'aide humanitaire … Learn More

Wastewater Exchange is the designer and the implementer of the Ethical Water Exchange (all rights reserved) transforming wastewater into commoditised treated wastewater for the good sake of our health, planet, economy &amp; water resources as common good. Learn More

Water Canada is an influencer, a networker, and a newsmaker. Our editors and researchers know the industry and the people implementing plans and projects on the frontlines. Thousands of readers turn to us for exclusive, insightful content that speaks to … Learn More

Water Technologies International (GR8 Water) is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of technologically advanced Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG). These unique devices utilize a patent pending air purification input system to produce clean, great-tasting, safe water from the humidity in … Learn More

The Water-Culture Institute promotes the sustainable management of our rivers, lakes, springs, and groundwater through (1) applying indigenous wisdom, and philosophical and cultural traditions that respect the rights of nature, (2) conducting research into ethics and value systems related to … Learn More

Wello is a social venture with a bold mission: to deliver clean water to a thirsty world. By reframing the water crisis as an opportunity, Wello has reinvented the wheel and developed an innovative and sustainable business model. THE WATERWHEEL … Learn More

Promoting the use of innovative water-from-air tech for evaporation and condensate recapture &amp; reuse by communities and businesses resiliently adapting to global warming and responding to disasters. In arid and drying regions lacking or losing surface and groundwaters, atmospheric (clean) … Learn More

ÁLON connects people and resources to raise awareness, converge best practice and collaboration, to support the transition of industries, leaders &amp; lifestyles dependent on water – towards minimizing our water footprints. “We aim to shape consensus among pioneering Water Ambassadors … Learn More

Projects in Iraq

None found.

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Developers: Ambev S/A

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The AWS Standard is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. Learn More

Developers: Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

This paper provides examples of how to make progress in service delivery in and beyond the workplace. With private enterprises playing a critical role in contributing to the safety of their staff, it is important to change some of their … Learn More

This tool is an interactive map linking nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation outcomes based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

A deep dive into three areas for business action:1 Responsible Marketing 2 Accelerating Collaborative Action at the Country Level 3 Building Resilience and Good Practice Solutions for Business Learn More

This report explores the possibilities of scaling a circular economy, given the reality of the global economy and the complexity of multi-tier supply chains. Learn More

Developers: World Economic Forum

This page brings together water and sanitation-related information from UN-Water Members and Partners in the light of the coronavirus global emergency. UN-Water is working to ensure the most up-to-date information, resources, and guidance as they become available. Learn More

As the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nations Global Compact is calling on business leaders everywhere to unite to support workers, communities, and companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A coordinated international plan involving the business sector will … Learn More

Water is the lifeblood of California, providing for the household needs of 40 million people and supporting one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, various commercial and industrial activities, and the health and viability of the state’s … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

New figures from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) indicate that WASH services in health care facilities are sub-standard in every region. Learn More

Developers: UNICEF The United Nations Children's Fund

ILO Sectoral Policies and Governance and Tripartism Departments present four self-training modules, which adapt existing ILO training tools on OSH to provide governments, workers and employers with the necessary skills to implement the general principles contained in relevant ILO instruments. … Learn More

Companies are increasingly setting and pursing ‘water balance targets’ as part of their water stewardship strategies. The seeming simplicity of balance goals can be attractive – “we will restore a volume of water equal to the amount our business consumes.” … Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Water Risk Filter can be used to assess and respond to water related risks for your own operations, suppliers, or growth plans. Learn More

Developers: WWF

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and rebuild our economies during and after the pandemic, collective action on water is essential. Such action can help not only to contain the virus, but also to realize the human right … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Learn More

CTCN; UNEP Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Water Witness International; WaterAid; WBCSD Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UNEP Learn More

IPIECA Learn More

Ceres Learn More

Ecolab Learn More

PRI; WWF Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Pegasys; Water Witness International; WWF Learn More

The World Bank Learn More

UNEP-DHI Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UN Water Learn More

OECD Learn More

UNICEF; WHO Learn More

River Threat Netwrok Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; WWF Learn More

Swedish Textile Water Initiative Learn More

Alliance for Water Stewardship Learn More

WaterAid Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

McKinsey Learn More

Toilet Board Coalition Learn More

Conservation International Learn More

U.S. General Services Administration Learn More

National Drought Mitigation Center Learn More

UNEP Learn More

USGS Learn More

UN Water Learn More

AT&T; EDF; Global Environmental Management Institute (GEMI) Learn More

OECD Learn More

SAI Platform Learn More

Leonardo Rodriguez
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