Dukan reservoir nearly at capacity, says official

Dukan Dam's bell-mouth spillway

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SULAIMANI — Despite its reservoir being almost at capacity, there is no risk that the Dukan Dam will fail, an official on Sunday (March 31).

Director of Dukan Dam Mohammed Tahir told NRT Digital Media that if the level of the reservoir increased by less than one meter, water will begin entering the bell-mouth spillway of the dam and into downstream portions of the Little Zab River.

The reservoir is currently holding 6.7 billion cubic meters of water, Tahir said, adding that only an additional 300 million cubic meters was needed to fill the dam.

“Water will flow from the bell-mouth spillway once the dam is filled. It will certainly flow from the bell-mouth as we still have April and May,” he added, referring to the remaining two months of the local rainy season.

Officials are not able to open the gates of the dam any further because of the risk to infrastructure downstream,  the official said.

“Already this week the water flow from the dam has reached 400 cubic meters per second,” he noted, saying any further release could cause flooding, damage property, and threaten lives.

The dam has not seen water levels this high since 1988, he continued.

Built between 1954 and 1959, Dukan Dam provides drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectricity.

The local authorities have warned owners of tourist areas, factories, restaurants, and villas downstream of the dam to stay away from the fast moving water.

Since the beginning of the rainy season, Erbil city has received 747.4 mm of rain, Sulaimani city 1039.4 mm, Duhok city 952.6 mm, Halabja city 922.3 mm, and Kirkuk city 416 mm. Dukan has also received 797.5 mm of rain.

Mergasor District in Erbil province has received 1,885.8 mm of rain since October.

(NRT Digital Media)