digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Mosul Dam
Mosul Dam is located in Iraq
Mosul Dam
Location of Mosul Dam in Iraq
Location 45 mi north of Mosul, Ninawa Governorate, Iraq
Coordinates 36°37′49″N 42°49′23″E / 36.63028°N 42.82306°E / 36.63028; 42.82306Coordinates: 36°37′49″N 42°49′23″E / 36.63028°N 42.82306°E / 36.63028; 42.82306
Construction began 25 January 1981
Opening date 7 July 1986
Construction cost US$1.5 billion
Operator(s) Ministry of Water Resources (17 August 2014)[1]
Dam and spillways
Impounds Tigris River
Height 113 m (371 ft)[2]
Length 3.4 km (2.1 mi)
Width (crest) 10 m (33 ft)
Spillways 2
Spillway type Service: Controlled chute
Emergency: Fuse-plug ogee
Spillway capacity Service: 13,000 m3/s (460,000 cu ft/s)
Emergency: 4,000 m3/s (140,000 cu ft/s)
Creates Lake Dahuk
Total capacity 11,100,000,000 m3 (8,998,916 acre·ft)
Active capacity 8,100,000,000 m3 (6,566,777 acre·ft)
Inactive capacity 2,950,000,000 m3 (2,391,604 acre·ft)
Normal elevation 330 m (1,080 ft)
Power station
Commission date Mosul 1: 1986
Mosul 2: 1985
Mosul 3: 1989
Turbines Mosul 1: 4 × 187.5 MW (251,400 hp) Francis-type
Mosul 2: 4 × 15.5 MW (20,800 hp) Kaplan-type
Mosul 3: 2 × 120 MW (160,000 hp) Francis pump-turbine[3][4]
Installed capacity 1,052 MW (1,411,000 hp)
Annual generation 3,420 gigawatt-hours (12,300 TJ)

Mosul Dam (Arabic: سد الموصل‎, Kurdish: Bêndawi Mûsil), formerly known as Saddam Dam (سد صدام), is the largest dam in Iraq. It is located on the Tigris River in the western governorate of Ninawa, upstream of the city of Mosul. At full capacity, the hydroelectric dam holds about 11.1 cubic kilometres (2.7 cu mi) of water and provides electricity to the 1.7 million residents of Mosul. The dam's main 750 megawatts (1,010,000 hp) power station contains four 187.5 megawatts (251,400 hp) Francis turbine-generators. A pumped-storage hydroelectricity power plant with a capacity of 250 megawatts (340,000 hp) and a run-of-the-river dam downstream with a 62-megawatt (83,000 hp) capacity also belong to the Mosul Dam scheme. It is ranked as the fourth largest dam in the Middle East, measured by reserve capacity, capturing snowmelt from Turkey, some 70 miles (110 km) north.[5] Built on a karst foundation, concerns over the dam's instability have led to major remediation and rehabilitation efforts since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


Historical Castle of Aski Mosul before being submerged by the dam's reservoir

In order to bolster Saddam Hussein's regime during the Iran–Iraq War and promote Saddam's Arabization efforts in Northern Iraq, the construction of the Mosul Dam was important. Construction on the Mosul Dam began in 1981 by a German-Italian consortium that was led by Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft. Because the dam was constructed on a foundation of soluble gypsum, the engineers recommended the implementation grout curtain within the foundation before the superstructure was built. Instead, to speed construction of the dam, engineers installed a grouting gallery that would allow continuous grouting of the dam's foundation in order to promote stability. Construction was complete in 1984 and in the spring of 1985, the Mosul Dam began to inundate the Tigris River, filling the reservoir which submerged many archaeological sites in the region. The power station began generating power on 7 July 1986. Because of significant structural stability issues associated with the Mosul Dam, ongoing grouting and additional construction and repairs are necessary.[6][7]

Instability and remediation[edit]

The earthen embankment dam is located on top of gypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves in contact with water. Continuous maintenance is required to plug, or "grout", new leaks with a liquefied slurry of cement and other additives.[8] More than 50,000 tonnes (49,000 long tons; 55,000 short tons) of material have been injected into the dam since leaks began forming shortly after the reservoir was filled in 1986, and 24 machines currently continuously pump grout into the dam base. A September 2006 report by the United States Army Corps of Engineers noted, "In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world." The report further outlined a worst-case scenario, in which a sudden collapse of the dam would flood Mosul under 65 feet (20 m) of water and Baghdad, a city of 7 million, to 15 feet (4.6 m), with an estimated death toll of 500,000.[9] A report on 30 October 2007 by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said that the dam's foundations could give way at any moment.[10]

In 2004, dam manager Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub ordered the dam's water level, which can reach 330 metres (1,083 ft) above sea level, to have a maximum of 319 metres (1,047 ft), thus reducing the pressure on the structure. Nevertheless, Iraqi officials maintain that the U.S. government is overstating the risk. The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed that the Badush Dam under construction downstream be expanded to obstruct the large wave which would result if the Mosul Dam collapsed. This has been resisted by Iraqi officials, who note that the current plan for the Badush Dam is US$300 million to provide hydroelectric power and help irrigation while the proposed expansion would cost $10 billion.[9]

In 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed and executed a US$27 million plan to help continue maintenance and repairs on the dam in the short-term. The Iraq Government is implementing a long-term solution which includes the construction of 67 m (220 ft) deep walls around the dam foundation. The ongoing project is expected to cost $4 billion and last four to five years.[6]

Growing instability concerns due to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) previous control of the dam and poor security led the Iraq government to award a US$2 billion contract to an Italian company, Trevi, in December 2015. The contract covers repairs to the dam and the Italian government plans to send 450 additional troops to provide security at the dam site.[11]

In January 2016, U.S. General Sean MacFarland warned that the dam might undergo a "catastrophic" collapse. Maintenance had suffered as ISIS had removed equipment and chased technicians away in August 2014, and the grouting schedule had not been maintained.[12] He indicated that contingency plans are in the works to protect people downstream in case of a collapse.[12]

Demolition concerns during the 2003 invasion[edit]

Chute spillway with ski jump section to dissipate the energy of the rushing water

In early April 2003, following the invasion of Iraq by a U.S.-led coalition, military intelligence had developed several scenarios, including one in which Iraqi forces had wired the dam for detonation. This would, like a dam collapse, release the 110-metre (360 ft) high waterline of the lake reservoir, to reach Mosul in about two hours. Subsequent investigation found nearly 500 dam workers to still be at work nearly a month after pay had stopped being distributed, with security being provided by militia under the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.[5]

Richard A. Muller, a physicist and JASON Defense Advisory Group consultant on U.S. national security, wrote:

2014 takeover of dam by ISIS[edit]

Main article: Battle for Mosul Dam

For several weeks in July and August 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) held Mosul Dam.[14] On August 7, 2014, the movement captured the complex from the Peshmerga. ISIS control of the dam created fears that its power supply could be restricted or its water flows to downstream areas greatly inhibited. In a less likely scenario, there were worries the dam could be breached, causing widespread flooding and destruction downstream.[15][16]

On August 17, 2014, Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army launched a successful operation to retake control of the dam from ISIS militants. United States air strikes assisted the Kurdish and Iraqi military, damaging or destroying 19 vehicles belonging to ISIS, as well as a checkpoint near the dam.[17]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Kurdish forces 'retake Mosul dam' from IS militants". BBC News. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Iraqi Dam Assessments" (PDF). Iraq: United States Army, Corps of Engineers. 6 June 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mosul Multipurpose Development Iraq" (PDF). Poyry. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Electrical Power Stations in Iraq" (PDF). Arab Union of Electricity. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Iraqi Dam Has Experts On Edge Until Inspection Eases Fears" by Andrew G. Wright, Engineering News-Record, 5 May 2003
  6. ^ a b Daniel Pipes. "Saddam's Damn Dam". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Worries grow over Mosul Dam". 
  8. ^ "Mosul Dam Repairs Benefit Tigris Basins", defendamerica.mil, September 2005
  9. ^ a b "Iraqi Dam Seen In Danger of Deadly Collapse" by Amit R. Paley, The Washington Post, October 30, 2007
  10. ^ "Iraq dismisses Mosul Dam warnings" BBC news, October 31, 2007
  11. ^ Squires, Nick (16 December 2015). "Italy to send 500 soldiers to defend Iraq's largest dam in Mosul". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Reuters (January 28, 2016). "Iraq's Mosul dam could face catastrophic collapse: top U.S. general". News.Yahoo.com. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ Technology Review Online (MIT)
  14. ^ Tilghman, Andrew (2 September 2014). "Islamic State still threat to Mosul Dam, Pentagon says". Army Times. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  15. ^ Rubin, Alissa J. (7 August 2014). "Rebels Captured Iraq's Largest Dam". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Ferran, Lee (7 August 2014). "Why Control of a Terrifying Dam in Iraq Is Life or Death for Half Million People". ABC News. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Kurdish forces 'retake Mosul dam' from IS militants". BBC News. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Mosul Dam at Wikimedia Commons

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul_Dam — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

50501 news items

Hurriyet Daily News

The Economist
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:44:37 -0800

What is clear, according to Iraqi military leaders and engineers, is that if the Mosul dam collapses, the city below it would be flooded so quickly that it would not stand much of a chance. “Downstream we can do many things” in co-operation with the UN ...

Fox News

Fox News
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:17:08 -0800

BAGHDAD – Iraq's Mosul Dam has long been branded the world's most dangerous dam, at risk of collapsing and sending water crashing over millions of people. That prospect is even greater than was previously believed after the Islamic State group captured ...


Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:08:33 -0800

WASHINGTON — An Iraqi-led operation to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul is unlikely to take place this year, a top U.S. intelligence official told Congress on Tuesday. The comments by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart were more ...


Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:22:30 -0800

Islamic State militants controlling swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq seized Mosul dam in August 2014, raising fears they might blow it up and unleash a wall of water on Mosul and Baghdad that could kill hundreds of thousands along the ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 05:11:00 -0800

The Mosul dam was built on an unstable foundation of soils that erode when exposed to water, and a lapse in maintenance after Islamic State (Isis) seized it in 2014 weakened the already flawed structure. The dam has long been in danger of collapse ...

Fox News

Fox News
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 20:20:18 -0800

Sean MacFarland offered concerns about the possibility the Mosul dam could breach if repairs are not made soon posing a grave threat to the surrounding area. The Iraqi government called for engineering firms to bid on repairs to the dam and an Italian ...

BBC News

BBC News
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:45:48 -0800

Sitting on an earth mound on the edge of his field, and puffing on a cigarette, he said his family had been uprooted from the town just once, when militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) captured Mosul Dam and Wana in August 2014. IS extremists ...

Laboratory Equipment

Iraq Oil Report
Sat, 30 Jan 2016 12:48:45 -0800

Iraqi authorities are releasing pressure on the fragile Mosul Dam to avoid a catastrophic flood, but in so doing are again providing power to the Islamic State's capital in Iraq. Mosul dam flows, returning power to IS held city below. Mosul dam flows ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight