Preliminary Assessment of Shatt Al-Arab Riverine Environment, Basra Governorate, Southern Iraq

Balsam Al-Tawash, Hadi Salim Al-Lafta, Broder Merkel


Environmental investigation has been done for 16 selected sites at Basra Governorate, Southern Iraq (eight sites at Shatt Al-Arab River, four irrigation canals branching from Shatt Al-Arab, three marshlands, and Arabian Gulf). These sites represent distinct land uses: urban, agricultural, marshes, and marine. Water samples have been analyzed for major anions and cations (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Cl, F, Br, NO3, PO4, and SO4) as well as for heavy metals (Li, Be, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd, Pb, and U) in an effort to make a preliminary assessment for Shatt Al-Arab riverine environment (i.e. contaminants’ distribution, level, and sourcing) and to examine the water suitability for drinking and irrigation purposes. Analyses revealed that Shatt Al-Arab water quality does not comply with drinking or irrigation standards. High population rate, major oil and gas production plants, power generating plants, and agricultural activities at Basra governorate indicate anthropogenic sources of some pollutants as we evidenced in this study.

Keywords: Environmental Geochemistry, Water Quality, Pollution, Irrigation, Shatt Al-Arab, Basra

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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