2020 Excellence in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small Newsroom finalist

Iraq Without Water: a journey on the water from Mosul to Basra

About the Project

“Iraq without water” is a multimedia and interactive webdoc that tells the story of a group of young Iraqi environmentalists and water defenders fighting for the right to water. As in many countries around the world, young people are taking to the streets to defend the environment and claim their right to a dignified future, also in Iraq young people are fighting to protect water and the environment.

Iraq, the country of rivers, the country of the Tigris and the Euphrates, is losing its water resources. Climate change, drought, upstream dams in Turkey and Iran, pollution and mismanagement are putting the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Mesopotamian marshes, one of the largest wetlands in the world, at risk. The water crisis is complex, with multiple factors and can be the cause of future conflicts.

This journey “on water” starts in Mosul, a city located on the western bank of the Tigris River and ends in Basra, the city located on Shaṭt Al-ʿArab, the watercourse formed by the union of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It crosses Suleymaniyah, Baghdad, and the Mesopotamian marshes, deeply affected by drought and pollution. Here live animals and plant species unique in the world. The Mesopotamian marshes were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016 because they represent a unique historical and environmental heritage, being linked to the development of the Sumerians and the most ancient civilizations.

The protagonists of “Iraq without water” are young Iraqis – born before or during the US invasion in 2003 – who are trying to defend their rivers and the right to clean water. At each stage of this journey, one or two protagonists will explain what the problems in Iraq are and how they are trying to raise public awareness at national and international level.

Videos, photos and interviews inside the webdoc have been realized between October and November 2019 at the beginning of the protests that are still ongoing.