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The Reasons and Significance Behind the Drying of the Euphrates: 2023 Edition

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The Euphrates is one of the oldest and most important rivers in the world. The river has made a lot of history. The Euphrates River flows through parts of Western Asia but is drying up. The river has had issues with falling water levels in the past, but why? What is the importance of the Euphrates River? Some people associate dry rivers with the end of the world, but is that true? Read on to discover the why and significance of the Euphrates drying up.

Euphrates
The Euphrates is one of the oldest and most important rivers in the world.

©yunus_oz/Shutterstock.com

About the Euphrates

The Euphrates River originates in Türkiye and flows through Syria and Iraq. The river joins the Tigris before emptying into the Persian Gulf. It is approximately 1,700 miles long and has an average basin size of 190,000 square miles. This river is the longest in West Asia. Typically, water levels are higher from April to May because of more rainfall and runoff melt. The original vegetation is still preserved along the river. For example, the Euphrates River flows through dry woodlands in the mountains of southeastern Türkiye. You'll also find a range of plants and trees along the river, including roses/plums, pistachio trees and oaks. In drier environments, grains such as wheat, rye, and oats are common.

The Euphrates is not only scenic and breathtaking, but centered on the river, it has a lot of historical significance. For example, several ancient cities such as Sibal, Nippur, Shurupak, Mali, Ur and Urkuk lived along the river. Water is wealth. It provides fertile agricultural soil for communities along the river.

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The first mentions of the Euphrates are found in cuneiform texts at Shurupak and Pre-Sargonipur. It dates back to the mid-3rd century BC. It was called Buranuna, an ancient Sumerian word. The river is spelled similarly to the ancient city of Sippar located in modern day Iraq. It is likely that the city and the river are connected in importance and divinity.

animals in the euphrates

otter sticking out tongue
Otters are among the mammals that depend on the Euphrates

© iStock.com/Heather Burdett

The Euphrates is home to a wide variety of animals, including snakes, small and large mammals, and fish. Not only are there different animal species, but also wild flowers and plants. For example, the most common snakes in the Euphrates are the Persian Sand Snake, the Levantine Viper, the Desert Black Snake, the Beaked Sea Snake, and the Yellow Sea Snake. Willows and weeds grow on the banks of the river. In addition to plants, you can also see shrews, otters, wolves, hedgehogs, and wild boars. They often drank the water of the Euphrates.

Yellow-bellied sea snake washed up on beach
Yellow-bellied sea snakes are common in the Euphrates.

©John Fader/Shutterstock.com

There is also native bird life and use of the Euphrates. Some of the more common birds include:

  • crow
  • vulture
  • stork
  • Goose
  • chatter
  • hawks
  • eagle
  • perfume bottle
  • bush warbler
There are also native birds that live and use the Euphrates, including storks.

© Matrishva Vyas/Shutterstock.com

Why did the Euphrates River dry up?

drought in iraq
The Euphrates has been drying up for years, but why? There are many reasons for multiple dams, drought, water policy and abuse.

©John Wreford/Shutterstock.com

The Euphrates has been drying up for years, but why? There are many reasons for multiple dams, drought, water policy and abuse. Many families in Iraq who depend on the river are in dire need of water. The number one cause of the Euphrates drying up is low rainfall. In Iraq, they're battling the worst drought they've ever seen. In addition to the drought, Iraq and surrounding regions are also being affected by climate change and rising temperatures. This has been a problem for decades. More than 7 million people have been affected by the drying up of rivers. More than 800 families have been displaced from villages along the Euphrates due to crop failure due to low rainfall, high temperatures and dry rivers. Sadly, another biblical river, the Tigris, is also drying up.

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Euphrates River Meaning and Symbolism

The Euphrates is a long river, and to some it symbolizes the end of the world. In the Christian Bible, the Euphrates is of great significance. When the river dries up, it is a sign of the end. This is a prediction of what will happen before the end of the world. According to some, the Garden of Eden was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. While it's uncertain if the river's drying up spells the end of the world, it's a nuisance for the people who live along the river and depend on its water and agriculture. There is no quick fix to fill the Euphrates, especially with record low annual rainfall.

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Euphrates

© Sadik Yalcin/Shutterstock.com


about the author


I have been a professional content writer for 6 years, focusing on nature, gardening, food and animals. I graduated from university with AAs, but I'm still doing my BA in Marketing. When I'm not writing, you can find me sitting in front of the TV with blankets, treats, and my fur babies in hand.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What caused the Euphrates River to dry up?

The Euphrates has been drying up for years, but why? There are many reasons for multiple dams, drought, water policy and abuse.

What is the significance of the Euphrates?

In the Christian Bible, the Euphrates is of great significance. When the river dries up, it is a sign of the end. This is a prediction of what will happen before the end of the world.

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