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Mosul Dam
MosulDam-July2012-01.JPG
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
Type of dam Embankment, earth-fill clay-core
Impounds Tigris river
Height 113 m (371 ft)[2]
Length 3.4 km (2.1 mi)
Elevation at crest 341 m (1,120 ft)
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)
Reservoir
Creates Lake Dahuk
Total capacity 11,100,000,000 m3 (9,000,000 acre·ft)
Active capacity 8,100,000,000 m3 (6,600,000 acre·ft)
Inactive capacity 2,950,000,000 m3 (2,390,000 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 (161,000 hp) Francis pump-turbine[3][4]
Installed capacity 1,052 MW (1,411,000 hp)
Annual generation {3,420 gigawatt-hours (12,310 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. The dam serves to generate hydroelectricity and provide water for downstream irrigation. At full capacity, the structure 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.

Characteristics[edit]

The Mosul Dam is a 113 m (371 ft) tall and 3.4 km (2.1 mi) long earth-fill embankment-type with a clay-core. The width of the crest is 10 m (33 ft). At an elevation of 330 m (1,080 ft) above sea level, the reservoir, named Lake Dahuk, withholds 11,100,000,000 m3 (9,000,000 acre·ft) of water. Of that capacity 8,100,000,000 m3 (6,600,000 acre·ft) is active (or useful for power and downstream releases) and 2,950,000,000 m3 (2,390,000 acre·ft) is inactive (dead) storage. On the east side of the dam is the service spillway which is controlled by five radial gates and has a maximum discharge capacity of 13,000 m3/s (460,000 cu ft/s). Further to the east is a fuse-plug-controlled emergency spillway with a 4,000 m3/s (140,000 cu ft/s) capacity.[2]

At the toe of the dam on its west side is the main hydroelectric power station (Mosul 1). It contains four 187.5 MW (251,400 hp) Francis turbine-generators for an installed capacity of 750 MW. Behind the power station are four surge tanks. Downstream of the dam is the Mosul regulation dam which serves to regulate the tail-waters of the main dam but to generate electricity as well. The hydroelectric plant (Mosul 2) has an installed capacity of 62 MW with four 15.5 MW Kaplan turbine-generators. Immediately upstream of the dam is the 240 MW pumped-storage power station (Mosul 3). It serves as a peaking power station by pumping water to small reservoir about Lake Dahuk, storing it, then releasing the water back down to two 120 reversible-Francis turbines during peak energy usable. The entire Mosul multi-purpose project has an installed capacity of 1,052 MW.[2]

History[edit]

Planning[edit]

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

Development of Iraq's rivers progressed rapidly in the mid-1900s as the country sought to control water resources for agriculture and to prevent flooding in Baghdad. Planning for the Mosul Dam began in the 1950s with the help of Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, a British firm who identified a location in 1953. In 1956, the Iraq Development Council contracted Koljian American to carry out studies for an irrigation dam at the location. The studies were completed the next year when Iraq asked the Harza Company to carry out a similar investigation who recommended a different location in 1960, based on karst foundations for two other recommended locations. In 1962, Iraq sought a third opinion from the Soviet Technoprom Export company who recommended a separate site. A fourth company, a Finland firm, Imatran Voima carried out a study in 1965 and a fifth company, Geotehnika of Yugoslavia, carried out studies in 1972. Based off the findings of all five companies which cited complex foundations, Iraq had a French firm, Soletanch, to carry out in-depth geological studies which occurred between 1974 and 1978. In 1978 the Swiss Consultants Consortium became the official consultants for the dam.[6]

Construction[edit]

During Saddam Hussein's rule, the construction of 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 thorough grouting within the foundation before the superstructure was built. Instead, to speed construction of the dam, engineers blanket-grouted 25 m (82 ft) deep around the foundation and a curtain 150 m (490 ft) directly below the dam.[7] A grouting gallery that would allow continuous grouting of the dam's foundation in order to promote stability was also installed. 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.[8][9]

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 would have wired the dam for detonation. This would 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.

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 the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) held Mosul Dam.[10] On August 7, 2014, the organization captured the dam complex from the Peshmerga. ISIL's control of the dam created fears that its power supply could be restricted or that its water flows to downstream areas would be greatly inhibited. In a less likely scenario, there were worries the dam could be breached, causing widespread flooding and destruction downstream.[11][12]

On August 17, 2014, the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army launched a successful operation to retake control of the dam from ISIL militants. United States airstrikes assisted the Kurdish and Iraqi military, damaging or destroying 19 vehicles belonging to ISIS, as well as striking an ISIL checkpoint near the dam.[13]

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.[14] 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. Between 1992 and 1998 four sinkholes formed downstream of the dam and a fifth sinkhole developed east of the dam in February 2003 which was filled several times. In August 2005 another sinkhole developed to the east.[7]

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.[15] 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.[16]

According to The Economist, "One study says that if the dam collapses, Mosul would be submerged within hours. Another warns that half a million Iraqis could be killed by floodwaters, and more than a million forced from their homes. Disease and looting as the floodwaters raced through Baiji, Tikrit, Samarra, and even parts of Baghdad would complete that dreadful scenario."[17] Nadhir al-Ansari, an engineer involved in the building of the dam who is currently Professor of Engineering at the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, said that the floodwaters would take four hours to reach Mosul and 45 hours to reach Baghdad, and that more than a million people would be killed if a "good evacuation plan" were not in place.[18]

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.[15]

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 was also recommended a long-term solution which includes the construction of 67 m (220 ft) deep walls around the dam foundation. The project would cost $4 billion and last four to five years.[8]

Renewed instability concerns following ISIL control[edit]

Maintenance had been deferred during the Battle for Mosul Dam due to security concerns, and many workers did not work both because of the risk of attacks by ISIL and lack of pay. Half of the workers who worked at the dam have quit because they had not been paid for over five months, and budget shortfalls and political infighting between the Kurdish regional government and the central government of Iraq have made it difficult to hire new workers. Together these factors have made Mosul Dam the "most dangerous dam in the world", because there are "almost certainly an unprecedented level of untreated voids" in the dam's foundation."[19]

Growing instability concerns due to the previous control of the dam by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL), 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.[20]

In January 2016, U.S. General Sean MacFarland warned that the dam might undergo a "catastrophic" collapse. He added, “What we do know is this—if this dam were in the United States, we would have drained the lake behind it."[17] Maintenance had suffered as ISIL had removed equipment and chased technicians away in August 2014, and the grouting schedule had not been maintained.[21] He indicated that contingency plans are in the works to protect people downstream in case of a collapse.[21] Some Iraqi officials continued to dismiss claims of a potential failure. In February 2016, the Minister of Water Resources, Muhsin al-Shammari stated "The looming danger to Mosul dam is one in a thousand. This risk level is present in all the world's dams."[22]

In February 2016, the United States Embassy in Iraq warned of a "serious and unprecedented" danger of the dam collapsing and suggested that plans for evacuation should be made, as the cities Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra, and Baghdad could be at risk in the event of collapse, and that up to 1.5 million people could be killed due to the ensuing flash floods.[23] The Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, repeated these concerns, and called for citizens in Mosul to evacuate and move at least 3.5 miles away from the river,[24] a proposal that was criticized by Professor al-Ansari: “What are all these people, millions of people, supposed to do when they get 6km away? There is no support for them there. Nothing to help them live.”[18]

On February 29, a Trevi spokesman said that the contract had still not been signed. There are concerns that the dam could collapse before the repair works begin.[25] On March 2, 2016, the Iraqi government announced that the contract with Trevi was finalized and signed.[26] A team of Italian specialists from Trevi arrived on April 14 to set up camp for the group of engineers who are expected to arrive within a few weeks.[27]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Kurdish forces 'retake Mosul dam' from IS militants". BBC News. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "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. ^ "Iraqi Dam Has Experts On Edge Until Inspection Eases Fears" by Andrew G. Wright, Engineering News-Record, 5 May 2003
  6. ^ Nadhir Al-Ansari; Issa E. Issa; Varoujan Sissakian; Nasrat Adamo; Sven Knutsson (2015). "Mystery of Mosul Dam the most Dangerous Dam in the World: The project" (PDF). Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 5 (3): 15–17. ISSN 1792-9660. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Julie R. Kelley, Lillian D. Wakeley, Seth W. Broadfoot, Monte L. Pearson, Christian J. McGrath, Thomas E. McGill, Jeffrey D. Jorgeson, and Cary A. Talbot (September 2007). "Geologic Setting of Mosul Dam and Its Engineering Implications" (PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. pp. 25–32. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Daniel Pipes. "Saddam's Damn Dam". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  9. ^ "Worries grow over Mosul Dam". 
  10. ^ Tilghman, Andrew (2 September 2014). "Islamic State still threat to Mosul Dam, Pentagon says". Army Times. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Rubin, Alissa J. (7 August 2014). "Rebels Captured Iraq's Largest Dam". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Kurdish forces 'retake Mosul dam' from IS militants". BBC News. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mosul Dam Repairs Benefit Tigris Basins", defendamerica.mil, September 2005
  15. ^ a b "Iraqi Dam Seen In Danger of Deadly Collapse" by Amit R. Paley, The Washington Post, October 30, 2007
  16. ^ "Iraq dismisses Mosul Dam warnings" BBC news, October 31, 2007
  17. ^ a b "The Mosul dam: A watery time-bomb: The most dangerous dam in the world". The Economist. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Borger, Julian (2 March 2016). "Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1m people". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "‘Most dangerous dam’ facing collapse, threatens half million in Mosul: U.S. Army". Associated Press. Japan Times. February 10, 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Squires, Nick (16 December 2015). "Italy to send 500 soldiers to defend Iraq's largest dam in Mosul". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Iraq's water minister judges only tiny danger of Mosul dam collapse". Reuters. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  23. ^ BBC News (2015) US warns of Mosul dam collapse in northern Iraq, February 29th
  24. ^ Borger, Julian (29 February 2016). "Iraqi PM and US issue warnings over threat of Mosul dam collapse". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  25. ^ Borger, Julian (29 February 2016). "Iraqi PM and US issue warnings over threat of Mosul dam collapse". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  26. ^ Borger, Julian (March 2, 2016). "Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1m people". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  27. ^ "Italian team arrives as part of Mosul Dam emergency repair". CBS News. April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016. 

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.
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17668 news items

Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 05:41:03 -0700

Marwan points to the markings at the emergency outlet of the lake behind Iraq's infamous Mosul Dam, that according to American warnings is about to collapse. But standing at the dam overlooking the still blue lake that reaches to the horizon, nothing ...
 
CNN
Fri, 08 Apr 2016 03:02:11 -0700

Downriver cities such as Tikrit, Samarra, and Baghdad could be inundated with smaller, but still significant levels of flooding within 24-72 hours of the breach." The lives of at least 1.5 million people could be at risk, according to U.S. estimates. U ...

PRI

PRI
Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:48:55 -0700

Amina Mohammed has lived in the village of Wana on the banks of the Tigris River her whole life. She was here during the years of Saddam Hussein and the US war. She's even lived under ISIS.

CBS News

CBS News
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 14:11:15 -0700

MOSUL DAM, Iraq-- A team of Italian specialists arrived Thursday at thesite of the Mosul Dam as part of an emergency campaign to repair Iraq's largest dam before it collapses. The advance team from the Italian engineering firm Trevi Group will set up a ...

New Security Beat (blog)

New Security Beat (blog)
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:30:00 -0700

Iraq has seen its share of calamities in recent years, but none is as dangerous as the impending failure of the Mosul Dam. A breach of the dam will result in a tsunami-like wave that sweeps through cities and hamlets along the Tigris River from Mosul ...

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 17:45:00 -0700

Iraq, is facing an unprecedented threat from the giant Mosul Dam, upstream from its biggest cities, which U.S. experts warn is in danger of bursting and unleashing a catastrophic tsunami-like wave. The country, under attack from Islamic State ...

NBCNews.com

NBCNews.com
Sat, 09 Apr 2016 01:03:45 -0700

WANA, Iraq — The possibility of annihilation hangs over Saddeq Hassan and his neighbors. Their town of Wana is just 7 miles downriver from the troubled Mosul dam, which U.S. officials warn is in danger of failing — which could kill between 500,000 ...

GOOD Magazine

GOOD Magazine
Wed, 06 Apr 2016 18:04:15 -0700

More specifically, we're talking about the Mosul Dam, which generates 1,000 megawatts of electricity and holds back an estimated 11 billion cubic tons of water. You don't have to be a hydrologist to know that that's a shit load of H2O, and when so much ...
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