Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Wayne Teel

Maria C. Papadakis

Jennifer Coffman


The Tigris and Euphrates river basin is located in arid and semi-arid regions of the Middle East. Five countries share this basin, with Turkey, Syria, and Iraq being the main nations concerned. The water resources of the basin are unable to meet the entire current and future water demands of all of these nations. Water scarcity in this basin is caused by one-sided, unilateral development projects and complicated by natural conditions, such as reduced annual rainfall. Shared freshwater resources are complicated matters that cause tensions between nations sharing river basins, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. The shared fresh water problem in the Tigris and Euphrates River Basins nations is further complicated since it exacerbates desertification and environmental instability in Iraq because of its downstream location. The problem of environmental instability in Iraq further complicates the shared fresh water problem because it raises current tensions among Iraq’s ethnic groups causing more conflicts over resources, which in turn threatens the regional security in the Tigris and Euphrates River Basins. To this day, these three nations do not have an agreement for sharing the water resources to ensure sustainable water management in the basin. This thesis provides: (1) insights on how to manage water resources in the Tigris and Euphrates basin to prevent regional conflicts between the nations sharing this fresh water resource, and (2) suggests water conservation methods targeted specifically to Iraq. These methods include rainwater harvesting, managing vegetative cover through forestry systems to slow desertification, and using available water resources as efficiently as possible, particularly in northern Iraq.