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Basra, the richest city in Iraq with little water to drink

Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources is preparing a plan to solve the water crisis in Basra, which has been one of the most prominent issues successive governments have failed to address.
A view of Shatt al-Arab river from Al-Tanouma district, east of Basra, Iraq September 21, 2018. Basra residents say salt seeping into the water supply had made it undrinkable and sent hundreds of people to a hospital. Picture taken September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani - RC1C273EB650

Iraq's third-largest city, Basra, was once called “Venice of the East” due to the numerous water canals and bridges meandering throughout the entire city. This description is no longer true, as the Shatt al-Arab ("Stream of the Arabs") and its branches have become polluted with algae, bacteria, chemical toxins, and waste products from humans, hospitals and factory residuals.

On June 1, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources announced that it has prepared a comprehensive plan to tackle the problem of salinity and environmental pollution in Basra province. The plan covers several measures, including building a dam in northern Basra to prevent river water from becoming further salinated.

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