The evolution of water resource management and associated national and foreign policies in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, the riparian nations of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, has been both predictable and volatile since the 1960’s. Development of the economy, of the social benefits of becoming a “developed country”, and of the natural assets of the terrain of each country drove each country to invest heavily in water management projects. Turkey’s Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, or “GAP” project, is perhaps the most well known of these projects. Since the inception of such projects local and global perspectives on water management have become more inclusive of environmental, social and political demands. ETIC was formed in response to these needs.
The water development projects of the Euphrates Tigris region began with modest goals of preventing floods and droughts, but quickly became more ambitious. As the scope of the water resource uses increased, the number and significance of the issues also increased. There are a host of complex issues created by the new technologies that affect people, wildlife and the environment. While our focus here has been on the particulars of the ET region, these are global issues that could be addressed productively in a comparative research environment. We hope to see a conference like the one we hosted, take on the global scale at our university or perhaps online. Please get in contact with the organizers, if you are currently pursuing related topics.
In addition to the intrinsic challenges of water management and cross-border negotiation of water usage, local academics and professionals capable of addressing these challenges are increasingly fleeing from the region with the increasing number of conflicts, terrorist groups occupying the region, and persecution from local groups, governments or foreign occupiers. The work of ETIC continues, but much of the work must now operate remotely. Universities and other organizations in the business of knowledge production, and knowledge sharing, may continue to host these activities. There is hope that with the internet and satellite technology that the regional knowledge will continue to be developed and exchanged amongst the riparians.