3. Results and Discussion
The long-term total annual precipitation and the mean annual temperature observed between 1980 and 2014 were about 595 mm and 20.0 °C, respectively. The maximum and minimum total annual rainfall of 1552 mm and 128 mm were observed in 2013 and 2008 in this order. The maximum and minimum mean annual temperatures of about 24.0 °C and 16.0 °C were recorded in 2014 and 1992 in this order. A negative trend (Figure 5
) was associated with total annual precipitation observed between 1980 and 2014 in all stations except station 3, indicating a drop in the amount of precipitation. As far as the rate of temperature is concerned, a positive trend (Figure 6
) was perceived in all stations, showing growth in the rate of temperature.
shows the Pearson’s correlation coefficients between the themes. The values of the correlation coefficient fall between 0.728 and 0.967. The lowest correlation coefficient of 0.728 was observed between Theme 1 and Theme 4, while the highest value of correlation coefficient of 0.964 was witnessed between Theme 3 and Theme 6.
Results indicate that the normal condition was associated with 51% of the water years, and 26% were wet years, while the remaining 23% were dry years. The lowest annual precipitation of 130 mm was recorded in 2008, accounting for about 23% of the long-term average annual precipitation. The years 1999, 2000 and 2009 were associated with considerably lower precipitation than what can be considered as average: 36%, 42% and 53%, respectively.
Questionnaire results reveal the following challenges to decision-making: conflicts (45.5%) > health (23.1%) > economic growth (19.8%) > social poverty (11.6%). No significant differences were observed (p-value of 0.083) between the influences of these challenges in the decision-making process. Dynamic involvement of the local community in planning, decision-making and monitoring is essential. The beneficiaries (local authorities, environment agencies and local communities) should enjoy sufficient flexibility to choose the service level that responds well to their needs and capacities. Ownership or, at least, co-ownership of sustainable drainage infrastructure by the local community is crucial for long-term management in a sustainable manner. Moreover, effective participation of the local community at all age stages of a sustainable drainage project will positively contribute to a sense of ownership, helping to ensure that the services provided to the community are based on their needs, priorities and affordability.
The financial and physical influences were of similar importance, accounting for approximately 85% of the total influence on business wellness and productivity. The collective risks related to the regulation and business reputation features accounted for around 15%.
The private sector should be actively supported in initiating capacities for investment, building and coherent service delivery. Creating a public-private partnership would be effective, particularly during the initial stage, which supports the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure, improves efficiency and service quality of utilities as well as setting-up new sustainable drainage projects. Moreover, economic water scarcity is an outstanding issue that has to be avoided. Accordingly, there is a need for regulatory and enhancement measures to secure the proper engagement of the private sector and provide an appropriate atmosphere for safe investment.
Regulations of water supply and sanitation services are dispersed between several ministries and agencies bringing challenges and difficulties associated with complex coordination mechanisms and consistency. In this regard, effort is required to introduce incentives to encourage solidarity among the various regulatory bodies with diverse responsibilities (e.g., public health management, drinking water quality and licensing of water utilities) and to advance regulatory capacity at various levels. Moreover, outdated or restrictive regulations need to be identified and updated.
Results drawn from the questionnaire (questions 3 and 6) and outcomes from discussions during workshops (academics and decision-makers) show that the construction of water and sanitation facilities contributes to an increase in man-power and reduces the unemployment proportion. This is not limited to the implementation period, but further to the long-term management, operation and maintenance needs.
Findings also indicate that climate change will pose an enormous challenge to the current combined conventional drainage system in terms of capacity while coping with increasing runoff. Urban drainage facilities should be developed in cooperation with water resources management stakeholders and utilities, using an integrative approach. Water use should be sustainable and abide by environmental guidelines. Wastewater disposal should be planned and managed with a view to minimising environmental impact and ensuring water resources protection.
Concerning the tested environment-related issues pollution increase, green area reduction, dust storm increase and wilderness increase, the highest mark (40.4%) was associated with the increase in pollution followed by shrinkage in green areas (31.5%), while the increase in dust storm and wilderness were found to be about 14.1%. The results indicate that perceptions regarding environmental phenomena are influenced by the scarcity of water and its mismanagement. An increase of pollution is attributed to the advancement of industry and agriculture, which has led to an increase in population and the demand by most people for a higher standard of living, all triggering an increase in water consumption. At the same time, wastewater discharges also worsen the situation.
The indifference for the sustainable management of water, rainwater harvesting, the use of SuDS techniques, and source control of storm water and groundwater conservation has led to water shortages. As a consequence, decreases in water supply for irrigation in agriculture have been observed.
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
The results are based on an integrated methodology, incorporating a self-administrated questionnaire, workshops, face-to-face communication and interviews coupled with electronic media interactions. Concerning challenges to decision-making, findings point out that the highest rate was given to conflicts accounting for nearly 46%, while the lowest proportion was linked to social poverty (12%). About 23.1% and 19.8% were associated with health and economic growth, respectively. Results indicated that nearly 85% of the total risks were related to financial and physical attributes. Approximately 15% of the risks were associated with both regulations and business reputation features. Findings also show that Erbil city tends to experience drier and warmer weather conditions.
Revisions and amendments of environmental acts, laws and regulations are essential to promote water conservation and investments in integrated water resources management. Urban drainage systems face an increased challenge to meet the demands linked to a growing population, including an increase of internally displaced people. Therefore, a capacity assessment should be conducted to identify the current capacity gaps and potential future needs, develop a solid action plan for short- to long-term capacity building programmes, and put into practice a coherent monitoring and evaluation process and measures to ensure that the implementation is thoroughly followed-up.
It is also recommended to prepare an inclusive curriculum on primary health care, which highlights the importance of hygiene and the urgent need to access safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. This should be incorporated into short-, medium- and long-term media campaigns that utilise all possible measures including the internet, television, radio and newspapers.