Dam Case Study
Surqawshan Dam east of Dukan & Basara Dam in Delezha, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq
These two dams are under construction in Sulaymaniyah governorate, Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. Surqawshan is located down river from the city of Dukan on a tributary to the Lesser Zab. Delezha is located south of the city of Sulaymaniyah and the dam is on a small tributary flowing south towards Kirkuk.
How is dam construction done at this site?
There is big community concern, especially from the farmers and local shepherds from the villages in these areas, as well as from the villagers themselves. Generally there are mixed opinion about dams in Iraqi Kurdistan. Many people think dams are good for Kurdistan and they have no experience or knowledge of the problems that dams can cause. This is why it is so important to continue to do outreach and awareness-raising around such projects to make sure people have all the information about the positive and the negative impacts of dams so that they can play a greater role on what projects get implemented in their areas.
The key environmental concerns are the losses in the biological diversity of the rivers and riparian environments including plants, invertebrates, fish, birds and other species which are dependent on the river ecosystem. This will affect both the upstream and downstream environments of the river. Environmental Impact Assessments for dam projects, though required by Kurdish laws, have not historically been done for dam projects. But these areas are near or part of Key Biodiversity Areas in which only few studies have been done and these dam projects will result in species declining or going extinct in these areas. Other environmental concerns from dam construction are: blocked fish migration; trapping sediment behind the dam, which can fill the reservoir, cause erosion downstream and force the river to deepen its banks, endangering downstream communities, roads and bridges; decreased groundwater downstream; declines in water quality; and increased potential for catastrophic releases and dam failures.
Who can you talk with to address your concerns about dam construction in the region?
Abdulstar Majeed is the current Minister of the Kurdistan Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources but the website for the Ministry (moawr.krg.org) does not currently work.
General Directorate of Dams and Reservoirs Facebook page
Links to sources about this and related issues in Iraq:
Damming our Rivers (Video)
Impact of Daryan Dam on Iraqi Kurdistan (English)
تقرير جديد يسلط الضوء على الاثار الكارثية لسد داريان الذي تبنيه ايران، على العراق
Iraq Rural and Agricultural Knowledge Exchange Network
Erbil strategy meeting and way forward for the Save the Tigris Campaign.
ROCK MASS ENGINEERING OF THE PROPOSED BASARA DAM SITE, SULAIMANI, KURDISTAN REGION, NE-IRAQ
Environmental Impact of Dams (International Rivers)
Human Impacts of Dams (International Rivers)
Economic Impacts of Dams (International Rivers)