Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin
Scientists using the twin gravity-measuring satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) have found that a large portion of the Middle East lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade. The research team observed the Tigris and Euphrates river basins—including parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran—and found that 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of fresh water was lost from 2003 to 2009. That amount is roughly equivalent to the volume of the Dead Sea. About 60 percent of the loss was attributed to the pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs.