Water quality assessment of the Shatt al-Arab River, Southern Iraq
Journal of Coastal Life Medicine
Objective: To assess suitability of the water quality of Shatt al-Arab River for protection of aquatic life, potable water supply and irrigation uses. Methods: The Shatt al-Arab River was monitored on a monthly basis from July 2009 to June 2010. A water quality index (WQI) was calculated to assess the suitability of water for protection of aquatic life, potable water supply and irrigation uses during the dry season Results: The results of the WQI showed that the lowest water quality values were
... scored during the dry season for all three uses of the river. Marginal water quality values were recorded for protection of aquatic life and fair (upstream) to poor (downstream) water quality values were recorded for irrigation uses. Moreover, the river water was not suitable for potable water supply without elaborate treatment. Conclusions: Deterioration of the Shatt al-Arab water quality has been attributed to reduced freshwater discharges from Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, low annual precipitations and an advancing salt wedge from the Arabian Gulf. However, a combination of those factors such as low riverine discharge and advancing salt wedge with a continuous discharge of agriculture, oil industry and urban point effluent has polluted the waters and fostered the decline of the Shatt al-Arab River water quality during the study period. The study indicated that application of WQIs was a useful tool to monitor and assess the overall water quality of the Shatt al-Arab River.