News, US/World

Mosul Dam Collapse, Clock is Ticking

Author: Paul Lehr

Nahum 1:8 But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

Nahum 2:6 The gates of the rivers are opened and the palace is dissolved.

The prophet Nahum describes the judgment of ancient Nineveh or 21st century Mosul, Iraq. It comes with a flood after a long history of bloodshed.

Fears of the Mosul Dam collapse are on the rise again. Scientists and engineers are expressing great concern for the future of the dam. Iraqi politicians are not as concerned. They say these concerns are overblown.

The Italian engineering firm Trevi continues to repair the Mosul Dam. They have been on the job for six months providing logistical work and planning. Scientific experts state Trevi has approximately 18 months to complete the work. Or the dam runs a high risk of catastrophic failure. The primary problem is the foundation of the dam continues to sink. The dam was built on gypsum.

“I don’t know if it’s a race against time, but we have the know-how and the technology to make the dam safe for the time being,” per an anonymous Trevi spokesman.

Trevi has a $300 million contract to complete repairs for the dam on the Tigris River. Trevi is also training locals on maintenance techniques. The World Bank is providing the money for the project. Trevi states more money is necessary to complete the task.

That is the contractor company line to the current situation.

Enter Nadhir al-Ansari. He is a professor of water resources and environmental engineering at Lulea University in Sweden and a published expert on the Mosul Dam. Al-Ansari has a different opinion.

“No matter how much grouting and maintenance the company will do, it may expand the life span of the dam, but it is just going to delay the disaster. It is just a matter of time. It will be worse than throwing a nuclear bomb on Iraq.”

On the lake side of the dam, sinkholes are increasing in size and number. The size of the sinkholes are 60 feet and larger.

Azzam al-Wash is an Iraqi environmentalist. He does not have much confidence in the repair work on the Mosul Dam.

“This is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound and pretending that everything is going to be all right,” Azzam al-Wash.

A 26% collapse of the dam would be a disaster. Here are the results of the latest studies released.

“This simulation … results in a very high wave of water, up to 25 meters (about 75 feet) high…arriving at Mosul after 100 minutes. The capital Baghdad is reached after 3.5 days with a maximum water height of 8 meters (about 24 feet) and a mean of around 2 meters (about 6 feet). Floodwater will destroy the infrastructure of all the cities along the Tigris banks, including Tikrit, until the water eventually stops 700km south of the dam.”

Then there is the Iraqi Government take on the dam situation.

Iraqi minister of water resources Mohsin Al-Shammari told media outlets, “The danger is not imminent, it’s far off. The danger is 1 in 1,000…The danger for Mosul Dam is no greater than that of other dams.”

Spokesman Mahdi Rasheed of the Iraqi minister of water resources stated, “It stressed multiple times that the situation in Mosul Dam is nothing to worry about. The Mosul Dam is working very naturally, and grouting and additional construction and repairs are constant.”

A solution would be to build a second dam. That would cost $2 billion. Iraqi leaders are suspicious and do not want outside assistance. They fear long term western occupation.

Great idea Saddam…

Trend Update: Mosul Dam Collapse, Clock is Ticking, December 2016