An operation to retake Iraq's largest dam from Islamic State (IS) militants was launched yesterday morning, with reports suggesting that Kurdish forces are now in near complete control of the facility.
Kurdish ground forces, supported by the US through air strikes, launched the operation to seize back control of Mosul Dam on the Tigris River, which is a strategically important facility. The multi-purpose dam supplies water and electricity to northern Iraq, and there had been widely reported fears that IS militants could use the dam to flood areas downstream of the structure.
There has been confirmation that the dam has been retaken yet, but Kurdish troops are reportedly painstakingly work to clear mines from the dam area.
The Mosul earthfill dam, which was completed in 1984, is 3.4km long, 113m high and has a volume of 37.7Mm3. There is a concrete-lined gated spillway with a maximum discharge capacity of 12,400m3/sec, and a 400m long fuse-plug secondary spillway on the left abutment with a discharge capacity of 4000m3/s with levels reaching within 2m of the dam crest. The power intake structure includes four 7.0m by 10.5m hydraulically operated wheel gates.
The dam's reservoir has a total storage volume of 11.1B m3 while active storage is 8.1B m3. The hydroelectric element of the scheme includes four 187.5 MW turbines.