Context: Iraq’s famous and prominent Lake Sawa has dried up for the first time in its centuries-long history and locals believe that it is due to mismanagement by local investors, government neglect and climate change.

  • Sawa Lake is an endorheic basin located in the Iraqi governorate of Muthanna near to the Euphrates River
  • This lake has no inlet or outlet, but it draws water from the Euphrates through a system of joint cracks and fissures which transport water to aquifers beneath it.
  • The water’s level fluctuates during dry and wet seasons
  • Sawa Lake is characterized by arid climate
  • Because of its saline water, no plants grow in the lake or on its shores. Fish and algae are the most important aquatic organisms.
  • Historical Links: 
    • Lake Sawa appears in some old Islamic texts.
    •  It is said the lake miraculously formed on the day the Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. 
  • Recognition: 
    • In 2014, Lake Sawa was named a Ramsar site, an international designation for important wetlands, gaining recognition as a rare area in need of protection. 
lake sawa UPSC
lake sawa