The two rivers that flow through the Fertile Crescent are the Tigris and Euphrates. These two rivers run from the Turkish mountains, through the Persian Gulf and into Iraq. While they were once a starting point for the Mesopotamian civilization, they have become dryer during the 21st century.
Although the Middle East is a predominantly dry region, the areas surrounding some of its rivers are fertile. This includes the Fertile Crescent, which surrounds the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Much like the ancient Egyptians were able to build their civilization around the Nile, the Mesopotamians did so with the Fertile Crescent. However, an analysis of the area found that it dropped from providing 1,200 cubic meters of water per person per year to 720 between 2002 and 2008, suggesting it is drying up.
Despite this, projects in northern Turkey are utilizing the river irrigate 4.2 million acres of land. In 1994, two water delivery channels were introduced to move water from the Ataturk Dam to southeastern Turkey. This has seen a significant increase in arable land between 1993 and 2003, with cotton production increasing by 50 percent in the area. As rainfall is low in the Middle East, farmers often rely on such projects to grow their crops.