The Stream, August 18, 2021: Dams in Iran Are Cutting Off Much Needed Water Supply in Iraq


  • Iranian dams are cutting off water supplies into Iraq.
  • Water overflowing from India’s Ganga River floods a major highway.
  • A new report suggests consolidating water and sewer systems in Baltimore, Maryland, to lower costs and improve infrastructure.
  • Rescue teams search for a number of missing people in Germany who were swept away by a flash flood that forced a bridge to collapse.

A new Australian study finds that improving water quality and renovating dams could financially benefit local farmers.

“The key finding is that beef cattle are likely to gain more weight if they have access to better water quality than that available in many turbid Australian dams that are infused with fecal and other organic matter.” – Leo Dobos, head researcher of a new study out of Australian National University. A new Australian study found that improving water quality and renovating dams would financially benefit local farmers and help cattle gain weight. Cosmos reports that the cost-benefit analysis found that fattening up cattle by improving water quality would equate to yields of between $85 million and $519 million for farms in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.


Shrinking Reservoirs Trigger Deeper Cuts for Lower Colorado River

The implications of the drying American Southwest and the limits to the region’s water supply are steadily becoming more apparent.

The federal government acknowledged the changing conditions on Monday, declaring a Tier 1 shortage for the lower Colorado River basin. The shortage declaration will force Arizona and Nevada, as well as Mexico to further reduce their withdrawals from the river in 2022. California, the other lower basin state, is not affected. The declaration also sets the stage for more drastic measures in the near future since Lake Mead is projected to fall another 30 feet over the next two years.

The lower basin was already in a Tier Zero shortage this year, which required modest reductions in water withdrawals from the river by users in Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Even so, total water storage in the basin’s reservoirs dropped from 49 percent of capacity at this time last year to 40 percent today. The decline was due to a dry spring and parched soils, which resulted in the second-lowest runoff into Powell on record.

A Tier 1 shortage will demand deeper cuts from the lower basin. Nevada and Mexico will be affected, but the cuts will mostly fall on Arizona, and more specifically, to farmers in Arizona who receive water from the Central Arizona Project canal.

In Case You Missed It:

What’s Up With Water – August 16, 2021 – This week’s episode of What’s Up With Water covers government leaders attempt to improve the flow of information and reduce the wasting of water in the United Kingdom, a far-ranging drought causing wells to dry up in the United States, and warm temperatures that are devastating Greenland’s ice reserves.

HotSpots H2O: In Madagascar, Droughts Caused by Climate Change Contribute to Famine —Over the past year, parched landscape has grown even more barren in Madagascar, as the country’s worst drought in over four decades has ravaged food supplies, sweeping hunger throughout the region.

Overflowing Ganga River Inundates Major Highway in India

Water from the Ganga River in India has overflowed onto National Highway 31, disrupting traffic for more than two days, according to India Today. Rising waters on the river have displaced thousands of residents in some areas. The village of Sabmina, for example, has been inundated for more than two weeks.



A new 308-page report suggested consolidating the management of the Baltimore City and Baltimore County water and sewer systems. CBS Baltimore reports that consolidating operations of the systems could lower some costs, make it easier to acquire low-cost financing for capital projects, improve the reliability of the water supply and provide a detailed assessment of the infrastructure systems and problems with the current model, like billing.

169 METERS (555 FEET)  

Deutsche Welle reports that Iran’s strategy of building dams to conserve water has cut river flows into Iraq, a country highly dependent on water resources from beyond its own borders. One strategy the Kurdish Regional Government has employed to combat Iran’s dam building is building dams of their own. Since 2014, 245 dams have been proposed in Iraqi Kurdistan—14 have already been completed, 17 are under construction and 40 are in the planning stages.


Rescue teams are searching for an unknown number of missing people who were washed away into a river after a flash flood tore down a bridge in Germany, the Associated Press reports. The bridge collapse comes nearly a month after more than 200 died due to intense flooding in Western Germany, which scientists say could become more common as climate change worsens.

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