Hydrological potential for the restoration of the marshes of southern Iraq.
Alwash, Azzam*,1, Cattarossi, Andrea*,2, 1 The Iraq Foundation, Baghdad, Iraq2 Via Pana 56/A, Noventa Padovana (PD), Italy
ABSTRACT- Since the liberation of Iraq in 2003, numerous releases of water, some orchestrated by the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) but mainly through the direct initiative of the local population, brought water back to vast regions of the former marshes re-flooding 30-40% of the marshes that existed in 1990. The re-flooding of former marsh allows for a window of opportunity to understand the natural processes and learn from this on-going experiment how best to manage the restoration of the overall marsh area. The Iraq Foundation, with the sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of the Environment and the involvement of a group of Italian experts (New Eden Team), initiated a monitoring program to evaluate the impact of the restoration on the environmental conditions in and around the marshes. The Iraq Foundation successfully delivered an action plan to the MoWR for Abu Zirig, a large wetland located immediately east of the Central Marshes. The work has now been expanded and covers the entire region as part of an international effort aiming at delivering a comprehensive plan for the restoration of the Mesopotamian marshes. The goal is to have the plan ready by the end of the year 2005. The New Eden Teams work now encompasses a broad range of activities, from ecological monitoring to the updating of portions of the Iraqi water resources master plan. By examining the distribution of water over an entire region and paying special attention to the restoration of the marshes, a unique opportunity is directed towards identifying the hydrological potential of the marshes and factors that most influence their survival.′
Key words: marshes, Mesopotamia, Iraq, hydrology
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