Impact of the environmental degradation of rivers on the reappraisal of international agreements related to the transboundary watercourse, Shatt Al‑Arab River (Southern Iraq): a case study


 Impact of the environmental degradation of rivers on the reappraisal of international agreements related to the transboundary watercourse, Shatt Al‑Arab River (Southern Iraq): a case study

Safaa A. R. Al‑Asadi Wisam R. Muttashar

 Sustainable Water Resources Management (2022) 8:84

This paper aims to demonstrate the dramatic environmental degradation of the freshwater fow in the Shatt al-Arab River 
(SAR) in southern Iraq and to review and evaluate the agreements, particularly the 1975 Algiers Accord, between Iraq and Iran, which share the southern part of the river. The data used were categorized into four parts, the discharges and salinity water data at two main stations located upstream and downstream of the southern of the shared area of the SAR. Data on constructed hydraulic structures, data related to the 1975 Algiers Agreement, and satellite images obtain in 1986, 2002,  and 2020 were used in detecting land cover change. Results show that the SAR has been under major threat from the dete-rioration of freshwater characteristics, green cover degradation, and drought and warming conditions. The Algiers Agree-ment emphasized the demarcation of the river frontier and the freedom of international navigation without considering the 
importance of freshwater infow sustainability. The minimum environmental runof in the river is approximately 124 m3
/s,  which is required to sustain river fresh water. The study proposes a Freshwater Sustainability Principle that can be added as an amendment to the recent accord. This principle allows the contracting parties to collaborate on the security of SAR and sustenance of the minimum environmental infow of the river.

Keywords: Shatt Al-Arab River · Algiers Accord 1975 · Water management projects · Freshwater sustainably · 
Environmental degradation