ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish official claimed Monday there is a risk Mosul Dam—Iraq’s largest dam—might collapse, said the central Iraqi government would be responsible for any damage to the dam and urged it to start maintenance work on the structure.
"It is the Iraqi government's responsibility to repair sites of the dam that are about to collapse," Ari Harsin, a Kurdistan Democratic Party MP in the Kurdistan parliament, told Rudaw Monday.
The dam annually needs maintenance, but "it has been so long since it has not been worked on and neglected by the Iraqi government," he claimed. "To repair the dam's shortcomings $250 million to $500 million has to be allotted."
He also said the US has recognized the risk to the strategic dam, and looked into finding private contractors to conduct maintenance and repairs.
The Islamic State managed to capture the dam in July 2014 when the group seized Iraq's second largest city Mosul, but the Kurdish Peshmerga reclaimed the dam soon after despite the dam still being in the militants’ hands.
In the case of the dam’s collapse, the resultant flood would be life-threatening to humans, animals and agriculture in the Nineveh, Kirkuk and Salahadin provinces.
Mosul Dam, once called Saddam Dam, was constructed in 1983. It is located on the Tigris River in the western province of Nineveh, upstream from the city of Mosul. It is the fourth-largest reservoir in the Arab world, with a capacity of about 8 billion cubic meters, and provides electricity to 1.7 million residents in Mosul.