Research released last year undertaken by NASA and the University of California revealed a substantial decrease in the volume of ground water reserves in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins bordering parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Over a seven year period, beginning in the year 2003, both river basins lost 144 cubic kilometres of total stored freshwater, the drought in 2007 no doubt being a major contributory factor accounting for this figure. Researchers claimed that 60% of the loss “is due to pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs.” Meanwhile demand for fresh water continues to rise amongst the area’s populace and because of different interpretations of international laws; the region does not co-ordinate its water management which could further jeopardise supply.
Recently, Al-Akhbar.com has reported on aggressive action by Turkey against Syria, in the form of suspension of the pumping of Euphrates water supply to the region, also threatening Iraq, which could result in a major water crisis. Consequently, the water level in Lake Assad, Syria, has decreased about six meters leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.
The result of this action by the Turks could result in a major catastrophe, in both Syria and Iraq, which will be examined here.
According to Al-Akhbar, Ankara reduced the pumping of Euphrates water to Syria over a month ago, cutting off the supply completely around the middle of May.
A source warned that “losing water supplies in the dam means that the silt in the lake will dry off which would pressure its structure, subjecting it to fissures and eventually total collapse.”
The Euphrates has been a source of conflict between Turkey, Syria and Iraq historically, Ankara insisting it being a “trans-boundary river” and not an international one, and subject to its laws.
A temporary agreement was signed in 1987 between Syria and Turkey, to share the water supply of the Euphrates during the period when the basin of the Ataturk Dam was being filled. Turkey pledged to provide an annual level of over 500 cubic metres of water a second on the Turkish- Syrian borders, until reaching a final agreement about sharing the water supplies of the river between the three countries. Syria registered the agreement at the UN to guarantee the minimum amount of Iraq and Syria’s right to the water from the Euphrates river.
However, it’s not only Turkey that has the ‘switch’ to dry up the Euphrates, drought in Syria and the misuse of the waters in Iraq are considerable factors, this actually happened in July of 2009 as reported by the New York Times.
Daniel Pipes in his blog Daniel Pipes.org explains that the Turkish government’s ability to completely stop Euphrates waters from leaving the country and flowing into Syria is a feat made possible by the enormous reservoir behind its Ataturk Dam.
The significance of this is that Turkey could at will, use its technological control of the Ataturk Dam to quickly and easily dry up the flow of the Euphrates in order to achieve military advantages, such as allowing military troops and trucks to cross over the Euphrates on dry land.
This is prophesied to actually happen in the last days.