The story of the construction of the dam dates back to the year of 1950 when the Iraqi Reconstruction Council decided to establish it on the Tigris River in the site which is about forty kilometers north of Mosul.
But political instability that prevailed in Iraq, and the large number of technical studies on the proposed sites for the construction of the dam delayed its inception to 1984.
The dam is currently under threat of collapse because of the neglect since 2003, which was increased and aggravated and reached to the brink of danger since September 2014 as dominated by the organization Daesh , and the Peshmerga forces have liberated it backed by the coalition forces, but the Daesh stole the equipment of the dam , which led to the suspension of operations of the injection cracks and make matters worse.
Mosul Dam is the largest Iraqi dam and the fourth largest dam in the Middle East, with a length of 3.4 km, and a height of 113 meters, and the amount of stored water in it is about 12 billion cubic meters, to be used for drinking and irrigating agricultural land.
The dam provides about 1,500 megawatts of electric power, but according to US sources, the ability of the dam to generate electricity rate currently dropped to reach 750 megawatts , enough to meet the needs of approximately 675 thousand homes.
The dam suffers several problems rooted in errors in its foundation, as Although several consulting firms confirmed the disqualification of its location, it was built in the end on unsuitable ground , making it in constant danger , if not undertake treatment regularly.
The land in that spot is made up of calcareous rocks which are melting due to pressure and water storage which leads to the appearance of cracks and leak , and the formation of spaces and gaps in the form of rooms down the dam lead to a decline in the layers above it .
According to a study by the ” University of Lulea ” , the Swedish technological university, that the foundations of the dam already are weak, for its salty components that are being eroded due to its meeting with water , which allow them to penetrate , causing the dilapidation of the dam and the threat of collapse, which speed up by its negligence and ongoing battles around it since 2003 .
on 28-1- 2016 the expert in water resources engineering at the Swedish University of Lulea Nadhir Ansari said the dam was established in 1984 and when it is filled with water in 1986 , began to show problems due to design errors by using the forms in groundwater movement, it has been reported to the World Council of dams about this danger.
The map below shows the expected sinking areas :
He stressed that the risk of technical and scientific aspect still exist for the presence of cracks in dam , despite the injection operations by cement material , as it was injected by 95,000 tons of cement in the cracks.
And Ansari pointed out that the solutions dealt with to protect the dam since 1986 -2014 including injections, similar to the process of the amendment of the curtain, indicating that the curtain itself seemed to collapse, and the leak is still continuing , which means that the injection has become useless.
He said that the World Assembly of Experts , which was held 34 meetings about the dam from the year 1968 and to 2016, stressed that all applicable solutions are not radical solutions, and there are technical solutions developed by the Council can be implemented if it has the financial allocations, which the government has not provided due to lower oil prices and political problems with Iraqi Kurdistan, which will reflect negatively on addressing the problem of the dam.
A study conducted by Iraqi experts about the presence of sinks (large cracks) depth of 15 meters, and that the dam water pressure on the cracks and accelerate dissolving the limestone rocks, and there are large holes on either side of the dam left and right, and there is a large crack in front of the dam length of 500 meters, and called for the injection cavities of the dam about two hundred tons per year of cement and Bentonite to ensure the continued resistance to the water pressure.
The warning of the collapse of the dam came from the US side as well, especially from President Barack Obama of the risk and put sensors on the body of the dam and published many reports about its collapse, considering it the most dangerous in Iraq ‘s modern history.
the President of Kurdistan , Massoud Barzani also warned saying the collapse of the Mosul Dam is a disaster to Mosul and to all Iraq.
Turkey offered in February 2016 to Iraq to contribute to the reform of the damage in the Mosul Dam, where the statement by the Ambassador of Ankara to Baghdad , Farouq Qimagja said that his country has offered assistance and support to the Iraqi government through Turkish specialized companies to address the situation of the dam, in coordination with the concerned authorities to do so.
The head of the Iraqi Center for Media Development Adnan al – Sarraj said the Iraqi government has an emergency plan to cope with the collapse of the dam, expected disastrous consequences of the collapse as it was quoted as saying of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al – Abadi.
He added the Russian deep study conducted prior to the construction of the dam acknowledged definitively of the disqualification of the place to build giant dam of desired size due to land quality , which have been analyzed and proved it was melting as a result of the high pressure of the water, but two French and Swiss companies submitted studies to the government at that time which looked upon the region suitable for the construction of the dam after making minor adjustments on the floor and treat it with special materials, bearing ratio of failure nearly 15% , unlike the Russian report , which exceeded the 93% of failure rate.
The Russian reports proved its correctness after few months of starting the operation the dam after the occurrence of cracks and erosion of the soil at the bottom of its base that forced the two companies to address that by the operation of cement injection which is going on nearly since 1986.
Sarraj said that the government continued to Overstuffing process, but the “occupation Daesh of the dam disrupted this process, pointing out that the organization of the Islamic State looted all the special equipment of the dam.
He added that the Mosul Dam , which was built on the soil of a fragile components characterized by low resistance to water, is threatened with collapse if is not reinforced with the main substances that strengthen the structure, stressing that the Iraqi government has drawn up precautions plans to face collapse, and conducting the injection and the situation is controlled, under the supervision of Swedish experts on operations of treatment.
He said the government is working to save the dam to provide quick solutions, financial funds to implement those solutions, it has spotted 50 million US dollars for emergency measures , and got a loan from the International Monetary Fund, and began to contract with French and Italian companies , and the United States is also promised to provide helping, pointing out that emergency plan was prepared and awaiting dangerous indicators that are giving by Americans , and the establishment of the civil defense Committee / Committee of flood risk are prepared for the evacuation of the population of low – lying areas towards high.
He assured the population, as high alert devices have been installed and accurate follow up to the dam, to record its indicators daily and submitted to the Council of experts concerned for this purpose, and the engineers from the US Army who follow developments first by first.
He added that the treatment solution that has taken since the construction of the dam is a Overstuffing by cement materials, this is not a radical solution, because recent studies demonstrate a high rate of sulfate will affect the resistance of the dam.
Iraqi politicians say that the Americans are exaggerating the subject of the collapse of the dam to cover up a major operation will take place in Mosul, stressing that the technical reality of the dam is the fact that the Iraqi government did not stop dealing with this problem since its inception.
They noted that the US Embassy in Iraq , demanded in 2016, the Iraqi government offload the dam of water, confirming the occurrence of cracks in the walls.
However , the adviser of the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources Mehdi Rashid commented on the statement of the US Embassy denying the possibility of the collapse of the Mosul Dam, stressing that it is functioning normally.
And the dam reserves behind it more than 12 billion cubic meters of water, more than a third of the water in the lake mead , the largest reservoir in the US. According to media reports that the water flow from the dam in the event of its collapse is estimated at 600,000 cubic meters per second , while the current of the Tigris river do not bear of drainage of water more than 3,500 cubic meters per second
In the case of the collapse of the dam , experts are expected to take the arrival of the first wave of flooding to the city of Mosul in a very few hours, and that floodwaters to plunge cities of Tikrit and Samarra, south of Mosul and rural areas of the capital, Baghdad, which would threaten the millions of Iraqis, causing the losses along the three hundred kilometers downstream, in addition of damage that will be left behind over the years for agricultural, industrial, environmental, social and health economic future of the region .
As they expected the flow of water is with the size of 600 000 cubic meters of water per second, the flood height of between 20-40 meters, flooding the large part of Mosul during the two – hours at the time of a collapse, it could sweep everything in its path, people, cars and unexploded ordnance , waste and other hazardous materials , it can expose a huge residential centers for the collapse, and that the basic infrastructure will be affected significantly, hampering basic services such as electrical services, and agricultural land will be affected extensively, which requires action to save the equipment and machinery of various projects as much as possible, and areas of mid and south of Iraq will expose to a huge damage and flooding the low ones areas.
It is expected that the flood will cause to plunge five million and the displacement of them during the two days of the collapse, with an estimation of the magnitude of the destruction of 200 billion US dollars, in addition to the damage of land suitable for agriculture , and the change in the political and economic map of the country.
Finally, it remains for Iraqis a hope that government officials pay attention to the real risks to this giant dam and potential disaster by the expected collapse at any time and deal with this threat with a top priority even before the process of the liberation of Nineveh from the hands of terrorist gangs of the Islamic state as a major threat to national security that do not bear any delay or bargaining .
Unit Economic Studies
Translated by Mudhaffar Al-Kusairi
Al Jazeera Skype
Iraqi Communist Party
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies