Protecting the Gulf’s Marine Ecosystems from Pollution

pp 207-222

Importance of the freshwater influx from the Shatt-Al-Arab River on the Gulf marine environment

  • Faiza Al-YamaniAffiliated withKuwait Institute for Scientific Research

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In the northern Gulf, the main source of freshwater is the Shatt Al-Arab River, which is formed by the confluence of Euphrates, Tigris and Karun Rivers. The river and its associated marshes present potential sources of nutrients, organics and pollutants (e.g., hydrocarbons, trace elements, and pesticides) to the Gulf. The importance of the Shatt Al-Arab on the northern Gulf ecosystem is undisputed. This chapter outlines the significance of the freshwater influx to the health of the Gulf ecosystem. However, ongoing and planned river basin modifications in upstream countries will have adverse impacts on the coastal marine environments. Since reliable recent discharge data are not available it is essential to establish immediately a monitoring system (for measuring river discharge and water quality) and in order to assess the current situation as well as expected future impacts on the aquatic environments. The environmental issues of the region have to be discussed and resolved at local, regional and international levels.