Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources officials are currently holding negotiations with German company Bauer and Italian company Trevi to carry out a project to support the concrete trusses of Mosul Dam.
The project includes building a concrete wall to support the dam's trusses at a depth of more than 200 meters to prevent water from seeping in from the lake.
Ministry of Water Resources spokesperson Hamed Hussain told Mawtani on Monday (April 4th) that the ministry is about to complete the technical, legal and financial aspects of its negotiations with the two companies.
"The project comes in the framework of the ministry's desire to find final solutions for the problems due to the weak soil foundation of the dam's cement trusses," Hussain said.
Last February, the ministry invited about 60 international companies specialized in dam safety to bid on the project. Bauer and Trevi were chosen last week.
Amer al-Jubouri, an engineer specialized in dams, said building a concrete wall would be "the ideal solution for the problems of the dam".
According to Ali Hashem, director of the Ministry of Water Resources' projects department, when Mosul Dam was built in the early 1980s, there was a technical defect in its foundation because it was built on calcareous soil, which over time erodes from contact with water.
Since the construction of the dam, ministry workers have dealt with the soil erosion by injecting concrete into the soil to protect the dam from cracks and fractures.
"Although this process is effective in treating the defect, it is still not practical enough and is not cost-effective," Hashem said. "It may also be subject to neglect, like what we saw in the 1990s."
Hashem noted that the ministry's workers would continue to treat the defect by injecting concrete until the project is completed. Officials estimate the project may take between four and five years, and cost about $4 billion.
Thirty-six specialized machines are now working around the clock to pump cement into the foundation of the dam trusses. More than 50 thousand tons of cement have been pumped into the soil during the past five years.
Hashem dismissed concerns about the collapse of the dam, which have recently circulated in the Iraqi street.
"There is nothing to justify these fears," he said. "The collapse of the dam is not likely and is completely ruled out in view of the regular maintenance measures that are implemented by our ministry's engineering cadres."
Media reports previously raised speculation about the possibility of a partial or total collapse of the dam; a catastrophe that would destroy thousands of hectares of agricultural land.
Mosul Dam is located 30 kilometers northwest of Mosul. It was built by a joint German-Italian company in 1984, and was estimated to stand for 80 years. It is considered the fourth largest dam in the Middle East, with a length of about 3,650 meters and height of 113 meters.
The storage capacity of the dam ranges from eight- to 11 billion cubic meters of water, which is used in agriculture and fish farming. The dam's water is also used to generate electric power through a hydroelectric station located nearby that produces about 750 megawatts of electricity.
In addition to Mosul Dam, Iraq has five other large dams including Haditha Dam in Anbar and Samarra Dam in Salah al-Din, as well as 25 other small dams and reservoirs.
Shaalan Kareem, a member of the Agriculture and Water Committee in the Iraqi parliament, said that experts and consultants in his committee recently discussed with executive officials in the Ministry of Water Resources the proposals submitted by leading world companies in dam construction.
"The committee experts will finish a report within the next two months and will submit it to the members of parliament," Kareem said. "In that report, they will explain the details of the work plan of the project and the radical solutions that will be adopted to support the dam."