Irrigation & land reclimation

Main Drain (Third River) historical back ground:

The engineering schemes of the drainage systems in Iraq were designed to reduce Salinization problems on millions of hectares of agricultural lands and to reclaim lands for food production. The largest single project, the Main Outfall Drain "Third River", was first suggested by British engineers in 1951 as a means of removing highly saline irrigation drainage water from 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land between the Tigris and Euphrates in Central Iraq. Parts of the Main Drain were begun in 1950’s and more was completed in the 1960’s. The engineering work included the construction of the Main Drain between the Tigris and Euphrates starting from Main North Musayab Drain nearby Numaniya town and continues to West Shatra Drain (Figures 1and 15). The later was discharged into Hour AL-Dalmaj. During the period 1970 to 1990 many companies had been involved in design and construction of the new watercourse of the Main Drain. But, the entire project was not completed until December 1993 by national engineering staff, (started on 25 may 1992 and finished on 7th Dec. 1993). The huge drain nearly 565 km in length, runs south from the end of Ishaki Drainnear Baghdad down the right side of Dalmaj Lake (it has in-and out-let link with the Dalmaj Lake). It continues down the right bank of the Shatt Al Gharraf and crosses the Euphrates via an inverted huge siphon beneath the riverbed just east of Nassiriya. It then skirts round the southwestern edge of Haur AL-Dalmaj, crosses the southeast corner of the Haur AL-Dalmaj (between raised embankments), and finally joins up with the Shatt Al Basra canal (man-made canal) which links the southeast corner of Haur AL-Dalmaj to the head of the Gulf via Khour Abdulla

The draining of Mesopotamian Marshes

The draining of Mesopotamian Marshes began in the 1950s with the Central Marshes and gradually accelerated as it affected the two other main marshes until early in the 21st century with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The draining of the marshes was intended at first to reclaim land for agriculture along with oil exploration but later served as a punishment for Shia Arabs in response to the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. The draining of the marshes was largely due to dams, dykes and other diversion structures constructed into Iraq but were exacerbated by upstream dam construction in Syria and Turkey.[9]
While the British engineers worked with the Iraqi government, Frank Haigh developed the Haigh Report in 1951. His report recommended a complex of canals, sluices and dykes on the lower portions of both the Tigris and Euphrates. These water control structures could be used to drain marshes therefore creating profitable farmland. In 1953, construction began on the Third River or Main Outfall Drain and later the Saddam River which would drain water from the Central Marsh under the Euphrates and through a canal eventually into the Persian Gulf.[9] Work on the Third River and other draining projects, particularly for the Hawizeh Marsh, quickly progressed in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War in order to afford Iraqis a tactical advantage in the marshes.[7] Part of the Hammar Marshes was also drained in 1985 to clear area for oil exploration.[10]

Glory River

The Glory River (Nahar al-Aaz), Glory Canal or Prosperity Canal is a shallow canal in Iraq about two kilometers wide built by Saddam Hussein in 1993 to redirect water flowing from the Tigris river into the Euphrates, near their confluence at the Shatt al-Arab.[1] It helped cause an environmental and humanitarian disaster since it diverted natural water flow from the Central Marshes and effectively converted much of the wetlands into a desert.[2] After the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein aggressively revived a program to divert the flow of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers away from the marshes in retribution for a failed Shia uprising.[3

Iraq - Technical report on the Euphrates River flood control and irrigation projects in Iraq (English)

This report covers an analysis of the technical and financial aspects of three projects (see map attached) involved in the flood control and irrigation program for the development of the Euphrates River Valley in Iraq, the foreign exchange costs of which have been proposed as a basis for a loan from the Bank


Iraq Salinity Project Technical Report

The Iraq Salinity Project was created in 2010 to understand the current salinity crisis and improve livelihoods through sustainable use of available water and soil resources in central and southern Iraq. It aims to evaluate the economic impact of salinity and produce a “road-map” to manage the problem over a 15 year time frame.

This project determines the contribution of the various complex factors at play in the current low agricultural productivity in Iraq. The inefficiency of the irrigation and drainage system had contributed extensively to the degradation of physical infrastructure. Institutional capacity in the agricultural sector also needs to be upgraded along with intensified training for the Iraqi farmers.

Changes in soil and water characteristics

R.W. Fitzpatrick
CSIRO Land and Water
The areas of Mesopotamian marshland and swamps on the Tigris and Euphrates river systems in southern Iraq are known locally as Hor Al-Hammar, which means inland lakes of very shallow waters (1-2m depth), the Central Marshes and the Al-Hawizeh marshes These marshes, until recently, were the most extensive wetland ecosystems in the Middle East (Partow, 2001). It comprised a complex of interconnected, shallow,freshwater lakes, marshes and seasonally inundated floodplains extending from within 150 km of Baghdad in the northwest to the region of Basrah in the southeast (Partow,2001


ABSTRACT This research deals with the hydrological and hydrochemical characteristics of Al-Massab Al-Aam channel(middle sector), which could be useful for the intended restoration efforts. Analyzing and interpreting the chemistry of water can provide valuable insights into surface water interactions. Major elements cations and anions(Ca+2 , Mg+2 , Na+ , K + , SO4 -2 , Cl-, CO3 -2 , HCO3 -), minor elements (NO-3, PO-3 4), and physical properties (pH, EC, TDS, temperature, color, odor, and TH). The Water discharge ranges between 88-220m 3 /s, and the average value is 169.5m 3 /s, while the water elevations above sea level ranges between 1.92-17.9 m and the average value is 8.35 m .The water samples are suitable for irrigation purposes according to the variables: SAR, Na% and RSC . 

المشاريع الاروائية في جنوب العراق: رد على حملة اعلامية مغرضة

نعيد نشرها لكم: من موقع عشتار العراق
البيئة الجغرافية
الأهوار عبارة عن منخفضات تقع في نهايات نهري دجلة والفرات تتجمع فيها كميات كبيرة من مياه النهرين المذكورين اثناء مواسم الفياضانات وتغطي تلك المياه مساحات كبيرة من الأراضي الزراعية في المنطقة وتؤدي الى ارتفاع المناسيب اما في مواسم الصيهود فتنسحب المياه عن بعض تلك المناطق مخلفة وراءها مستنقعات تكون بؤرا للعديد من الأمراض.
لقد ادت تغطية تلك المساحات الواسعة بالمياه الى عزل تلك المناطق وصعوبة الوصول اليها وبالتالي صعوبة تقديم الخدمات الضرورية اللازمة لتحسين بيئة السكان فيها وتردي الظروف البيئية في المنطقة بدرجة كبيرة.**

وضمن عملية تطويرمشاريع الري ودراسات تسليك مياه الفيضان والسيطرة عليها قدم العديد من الشركات الاجنبية التي كانت تكلف باجراء تلك الدراسات منذ بداية الخمسينات مقترحات عديدة لتطوير هذه المناطق من اهمه  




The document aims to answer the following questions: "What does it take to put the Iraqi food and agricultural sector back on the development track?" And how could FAO and the international community collaborate with the Iraqi people in rebuilding the country?"
To this end, the document adopts a futuristic, optimistic and pragmatic approach in highlighting a strategy for the transition from relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction to sustainable agricultural development. The envisaged strategy focuses on attaching highest priority to supporting the optimum utilization of national, regional and local resource base; contributing to national institution building; enhancing governance including the adoption of a decentralised approach; aiming at environmental protection, natural resource conservation and sustainable development; and achieving a national ownership of the entire transitional process.
The document argues that it is the Iraqi people who have the skills, capabilities, resolve, and motivation, to re-build their country. The International Community, and FAO in particular, stands ready to assist and collaborate as partners in development in this endeavou

Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station

The Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station is a land drainage pumping station in Iraq 10km southeast of Nasiriyah in the province of Dhi Qar. The station pumps farm run-off collected by the Main Outfall Drain (MOD) north of the Euphrates River in Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces to a siphon under the Euphrates where it is then returned to the MOD and eventually discharged in the Persian Gulf. The pump station relieves water back-up and is a critical component of a larger agricultural drainage system designed to drain 1.5 million hectares of land in order to reduce soil salinity.[1][2] Consisting of 12 pumps, each with a 20 m³/second (316,000 gal/min) capacity, it is the largest drainage pump in the Middle East.[3]

n 1951, British engineer Frank Haigh developed his Haigh Report for the Iraqi government which laid out drainage infrastructure for the Mesopotamian Marshes in order to reclaim the land for agriculture. His report recommended a complex of canals, sluices and dikes on the lower portions of both the Tigris and Euphrates. In 1953, construction began on the Main Outfall Drain, also known as the Third River, which would drain water from the Central Marshes through a canal and eventually into the Persian Gulf.[4] Construction on the Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station, which would serve to pump the water to a siphon under the Euphrates, did not begin until 1983. A Brazilian contractor worked on the pump station until 1986 when political upheaval forced a construction halt. Construction continued in 1992, the same year the MOD was completed, but was intermittent until 1999 because of flooding and structural failures.[2] Aside from agriculture, the MOD was viewed as a tool for Saddam Hussein to drain the Central Marshes in order to deny a refuge for Shia Muslims after the 1991 uprisings in Iraq.[5]