The eastern part of the Upper and Middle Neogene Formations beneath the Mesopotamian Plain constitutes a shared aquifer system between Iraq and Syria. This aquifer system is referred to as the Neogene Aquifer System (North-West), and comprises the Upper and Lower Fars Formations of Miocene age (presently known in Iraq as Injana and Fatha). It consists of a lower part composed mainly of gypsum, and an upper part made up mostly of sandstones and clay.
Groundwater flow across the political border is generally directed towards river courses and salt flats. Groundwater in both aquifer parts is generally brackish (4,000-≥20,000 mg/L TDS), with relatively more freshwater in the upper layers (<1,000 mg/L) especially in the northern areas where the aquifer is recharged by precipitation and surface water.
Groundwater is abstracted from wells, in addition to a small number of bore-holes that are concentrated in the vicinity of elevated areas around the Sinjar-Abdel Aziz Mountains. Groundwater use is generally restricted by high salinity levels and low well yields, and water for domestic consumption can only be abstracted from the upper aquifer up to a depth of 25 m bgl.
|Riparian Countries||Iraq, Syria|
|Alternative Names||Iraq: Fatha-Injana
Syria: Lower and Upper Fars
|Renewability||Medium to High (20 - >100 mm/yr)|
|Hydraulic Linkage with Surface Water||Good|
|Aquifer Type||Unconfined to confined|
|Thickness||Generally 500-550 m with a pronounced decrease in thickness north of the Sinjar Uplift|
|Average Annual Abstraction||--|
|Water Quality||Most common: brackish to saline
(2,000-4,000 mg/L TDS)
Recharge areas: ≤ 1,000 mg/L TDS
Discharge areas: 5,000 - ≥ 20,000 mg/L TDS
|Water Use||Agriculture and domestic|
|Sustainability||Risk of salinization if wells are deepened and/or infiltration of surface water from irrigated areas|