Officials and farmers told AFP that the reservoir was drained by low rainfall and structural deterioration and extracted by suffering farmers. It is now completely dry.
Syria is experiencing one of the hottest and most dry years in its history. This is due to extremely low rainfall last winter. It also has a lot to do with man-made climate changes increasing drought and wildfires all over the world.
The reservoir Al-Duwaysat Dam, located in Idlib province, which was a vital irrigation source for thousands of farmers, has dried up for the first time in its 27-year-old history.
In many places, the lake’s bottom is charred to a crisp by stranded rowing boat, animal skulls and dead trees.
Small groups of sheep enjoy fresh shoots and the few remaining puddles.
According to the World Bank, the reservoir can hold 3.6 million cubic meters (38.8 millions square feet). It is primarily used for agriculture and water supply.
“We can now walk on top of the reservoir floor due to drought and low rainfall,” Maher al-Hussein, its managing engineer, said. He also noted that the reservoir was almost full two years ago.
Due to the low rainfall last winter, only half of the reservoir was filled. Farmers trying to save their crops used all of it for irrigation, Hussein said.
He said that damage to the primary pipeline, which transports water from reservoir to irrigation networks, has caused significant leaks, decreasing water availability to crops.
Hussein said, “This is the first dry time since 1994 when the reservoir was built.”
He estimated that the reservoir could irrigate 150 hectares (370 acres), of agricultural land for approximately 800 households.
Abu Joumaa, a cattle farmer, said that they have been coming to the reservoir for ten year. “If God doesn’t bring enough rain this year, the reservoir will not be filled with water. People won’t be able to grow the crops they depend on to make their living.”