Cracks in concret, exposed steel bars

Diywana Dam faces structural issues and delays in Sulaymaniyah

DARBANDIKHAN — Construction of the Diywana Dam in Kurdistan’s Darbandikhan district, one of the region’s larger dams, has been delayed multiple times since it began in 2010. The dam, which is not yet operational, has not been handed over to the government.

Located south of Sulaymaniyah, the dam is meant to support agricultural irrigation, especially during the summer. However, it failed to retain water in 2022 due to a lack of rainfall. On March 8, 2023, it began holding water and reached full capacity. It is currently storing about 19.5 million cubic meters of water.

Recent photos obtained by 964media show cracks in the concrete at the overflow gate and exposed steel bars.

The project has encountered multiple delays due to financial constraints and structural issues. Initially scheduled to be completed within 912 days, financial problems have led to five work stoppages.

A portion of the dam’s budget, 24 billion dinars ($18.3 million), was planned to be spent in three to four stages but was delayed due to financial crises.

The Ninth Cabinet has approved an allocation of 2 billion, 174 million, and 78 thousand Iraqi dinars ($1.53 million) to complete the project, which has faced a significant budget shortfall.

On Saturday, Sulaiman Mohammed, the district official of Darbandikhan, told 964media, “The dam has not yet been handed over to the government, but officials are aware of the cracks and issues, and a committee has been established to identify the deficiencies and find solutions.”

Mohammed said the government would not take possession of the dam until the deficiencies are addressed. A committee has been formed to investigate subpar work by the implementing companies, Hovar and Havita.

The Diywana Dam, 42 meters high and 260 meters wide, has a capacity of 21 million cubic meters of water.

Environmental activists, including Farman Abdulrahman, claim 34% of the city’s garbage has accumulated in the dam. 964media has not independently verified these figures, though the wider issue is well documented.

Osman Ali, the mayor of Darbandikhan, said a design for a dedicated sediment management system was created in 2013 but was not implemented until 2021 due to financial constraints.

A committee comprising representatives from the implementing companies, Darbandikhan municipality officials, district administrators, dam officials in Kurdistan Region, water resources ministry representatives, and technical and legal experts has been set up to resolve these issues. However, the project’s completion remains pending.

The implementing companies have declined to comment on the situation, stating they will only release a statement once the committee completes its investigation.