Iraqi, U.S. and Italian officials have celebrated the completion of a project to shore up Iraq’s Mosul Dam, which is 371 feet tall and 2.2 miles long and holds back about 32 billion gallons of water.
Trevi says a recently held event formalized the return of the dam to the technicians of the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, which will have to guarantee the constant maintenance of the structure.
The project cost $530 million, according to Stars and Stripes. The Mosul Dam project was a collaboration between the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Trevi SPA, “with the aim of stabilizing, repairing and securing the dam and transferring to Iraqi technicians all the know-how needed in the future to manage the operations independently,” Trevi said. The U.S. government paid nearly $125 million, and the Iraqi government paid $410 million, Stars and Stripes said.
Trevi signed the contracted for maintenance and safety of the dam in March 2016. The work took more than three years, with Trevi counting about 8 million man-hours of work.
Trevi completed more than 5,200 drilling holes and grouted almost 40,000 m3 of cement mixture into the subsoil that supports the dam. Stars and Stripes says that while the work has stabilized the dam, “construction flaws that have posed a threat since its completion in 1984 have yet to be permanently fixed.”
Mosul Dam provides flood protection and impounds water for hydropower, irrigation and water supply to downstream populations. It was built over beds of gypsum, “which could be washed away without” grouting, Stars and Stripes said. If erosion were to undermine the dam, its collapse could engulf parts of Mosul within a few hours, and Baghdad (about 235 miles south) would be flooded in days. About 1.5 million Iraqis could be killed in the floodwaters, Stars and Stripes said.
“Mosul Dam is effectively a construction project that never ends due to the scale of its maintenance drilling and grouting operations,” said Col. Philip M. Secrist III, USACE’s Mosul Dam Task Force commander.
Hydro Review published an enlightening article on the diving work occurring at Mosul Dam in January 2018.