Iraq’s Existential Water Crisis

Despite boasting the great Tigris and Euphrates rivers that have shaped civilization in the region for millennia, Iraq now confronts a severe water scarcity and pollution crisis. The primary culprits are decades of war, water mismanagement, and climate change. Iraq’s agricultural sector relies on open-air canals, resulting in substantial water loss through evaporation during scorching temperatures exceeding 120°F in summer. Farmers use inefficient flood irrigation techniques instead of adopting precise drip or sprinkler methods, which only exacerbates the crisis. This situation has led to a prolonged decline in Iraq’s agricultural sector, employing 18% of the population, and has worsened due to drought. The reality of Iraq’s rivers running dry arguably presents the greatest long-term threat to the nation’s security, with the potential to ignite significant instability and trigger widespread migration in the years ahead. Join us for a panel that explores the impact of climate change and water mismanagement on the development and security of Iraq and the region with Simona Foltyn, veteran investigative journalist. Adam Weinstein, Deputy Director of the Quincy Institute’s Middle East Program, will moderate.  The conversation will take place on Wednesday, September 6 from 2 – 3 PM EST. REGISTER FOR EVENT


Simona Foltyn

Simona Foltyn is a journalist and documentary maker currently based in Baghdad, focusing on armed conflicts, social equity, corruption, and human rights. As Al Jazeera English's Iraq correspondent from 2019 to 2021, she covered Iraq's protest movement and the escalating U.S.-Iran tensions on Iraqi soil, including the assassination of Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. Prior to her time at Al Jazeera, Foltyn freelanced for outlets such as France24, providing coverage of the war against ISIS. Collaborating with Type Investigations and the Pulitzer Center, she has worked to expose corruption and the implications of U.S. foreign policy. Her achievements include the Kurt Schork Memorial Award for uncovering the vanishing $1 billion from South Sudan's foreign reserves. She holds a Master's in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

Adam Weinstein (Moderator)

Adam Weinstein is Deputy Director of the Middle East Program at the Quincy Institute. He previously worked for KPMG’s international trade practice. Adam’s current research focuses on security, trade, and rule of law in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East. He previously worked as senior law and policy analyst at the National Iranian American Council where he focused on the securitization of U.S. immigration policy and its effect on immigrant communities. He is also a non-resident fellow at Tabadlab, an Islamabad based think tank and advisory firm. He received a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law with a concentration in international law and transitional justice. Adam served as a U.S. Marine and deployed to Uruzgan Province Afghanistan in 2012.