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Basra’s Tap Water Is Too Salty and Polluted Even for Washing

IRAQ-DAILYLIFE-FISHING

Photographer: Haidar Mohammed Ali/AFP via Getty Images

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Baghdad (AP) -- Qassim Sabaan Ali has spent the past 15 years tending to orchards in southern Iraq, only to see them wither or die as saltwater has seeped into the once-lush soil.

The southern city of Basra was once known as the "Venice of the East" because of its freshwater canals, and Iraq itself is still known as the "Land Between the Two Rivers" — the Tigris and the Euphrates — which have nourished civilizations since antiquity.