Iraqi officials report that Mosul Dam now stable; experts continue to question its stability
After six months of intensified repairs, Iraqi officials claim the massive Mosul Dam has been saved from impending disaster. But experts say it will always be at risk of collapse and will need constant maintenance.
In a statement on May 5, Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources said that the dam was now stable and no longer a danger. Italian company Trevi started repairs in October 2016.
Carlo Crippa, the project manager, said the dam structure now shows no significant signs of distress. However, constant maintenance will be necessary, as the rocks of the foundations are prone to dissolution due to the circulation of water.
Despite these assurances, experts who have studied the dam structure say it remains far from safe. Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi-American civil engineer who has served as an adviser on the dam pointed out that sinkholes remain in the dam’s reservoir, making it vulnerable to pressure from water flows.
Nadhir al-Ansari, professor of water resources and environmental engineering at Lulea University in Sweden and a published expert on the Mosul Dam, agreed that the risk remains.
Ansari pointed out that Janadi’s comments that the dam was no longer in danger refer to the fact that the dam is already past its flooding season, which peaks in April, adding that ‘we will have the same problem every year in April’.