Discussion Board 3.docx - Fighting over water in the Middle...

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Fighting over water in the Middle East is nothing new. This is a hot and dry climate and therefore water is an extremely precious commodity. In fact, it is thought that the first "water war" was fought in this region between the king of Umma and the king of Girsu over 7500 years ago (Pearce, 2014). Water wars in this area are not something just in the distant past. In 2014 ISIS took control over the dams in Mosul, Fallujah, and Tabqa, which supply power to Aleppo (Pearce, 2014). The taking of the dam in Mosul was important and terrifying for many reasons. First, a dam is extremely complicated to operate and takes a trained group of people and to the best of anyone’s knowledge none of the people from ISIS that were occupying the dam had that kind of training. Second is the fact that the Mosul dam is considered by engineers to be incredibly unstable and requires constant repairs (Pearce, 2014). If these repairs were not done then it couldhave lead to a catastrophic incident, that may not have even been intentional. Lastly is the widespread impact that this could have on the civilians very far away. It is thought that if the dam was allowed to fail it would not only affect the people in Mosul but it would have an impactas far as Baghdad, more than 280 miles away (Duke & Alkhshali, 2014). Some of these effects have actually been felt by people, and it is assumed that it was ignorance that caused these problems, not intentional destruction. In early May of 2014 engineers of the dam in Tabqa said that ISIS had them empty the reservoirs of the dam to “maximize the supply of electricity.” This caused Lake Assad, the lake behind the dam, to be mostly emptied which affected the ability for people in the area to use the water that is typically held in reserve there (Pearce, 2014). Then in late May, ISIS tried to refill the dam by cutting off power from Aleppo for 16-20hours a day. This then affects water pumping stations which means that millions of people are
being cut off from having clean water available to them (Pearce, 2014). So, by this group taking control of this dam they found a way to affect people’s ability to have water to irrigate crops, have clean drinking water, have electricity, and put the lives of millions of people at risk of flooding, all at the same time. It is amazing how important water really is to our way of life. Of the 10 most water-scarce countries in the world, six are in the Middle East region of the world. Unfortunately, more and more countries will enter the designation of being either water-scarce or water-stressed. Something that is often not considered when we start talking about water scarcity is the fact that it often affects women and girls more than boys and men. Women in developing countries are usually responsible for obtaining water for household use, the hygiene of the people living in the house, and caring for sick children, who are more likely todevelop diarrhea if they are not drinking clean water. When clean water is not accessible then it

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