The collapse of the Mosul Dam: economic ruin and the change of the map of Iraq ..

The collapse of the Mosul Dam: economic ruin and the change of the map of Iraq ..

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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 .

Shatha Khalil 
Unit Economic Studies 
Translated by Mudhaffar Al-Kusairi

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