Samarra Barrage

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Samarra Dam
Samarra Barrage USACE NWD.jpg
Samarra Barrage is located in Iraq
Samarra Barrage
Location of Samarra Dam in Iraq
Location Directly east of Samarra, Salah ad Din Governorate, Iraq
Coordinates 34°11′45″N 43°51′02″E / 34.19583°N 43.85056°E / 34.19583; 43.85056Coordinates: 34°11′45″N 43°51′02″E / 34.19583°N 43.85056°E / 34.19583; 43.85056
Opening date 1956
Operator(s) Ministry of Water Resources
Dam and spillways
Impounds Tigris River
Elevation at crest Approx. 65 m (213 ft)
Spillway capacity Samarra Barrage: 7,000 m3/s (247,203 cu ft/s)
Tharthar Regulator: 9,000 m3/s (317,832 cu ft/s)
Total capacity 150,000,000 m3 (121,607 acre·ft)
Power station
Commission date 1972
Type Run-of-the-river
Turbines 3 x 28 MW Kaplan-type
Installed capacity 84 MW

Samarra Barrage (Arabic: سد سامَرّاء‎‎) and Tharthar Barrage (Arabic: سد الثَرثار‎‎) is a multi-purpose barrage on the Tigris River adjacent (west) of Samarra and north of Baghdad, Iraq. The main purpose of the dam is to divert floodwater in the Tigris River to Lake Tharthar through the Tharthar depression along with irrigation and an 84 MW hydro-electricity station. It also serves to produce hydroelectric power and flood control – although the later has become less critical with the construction of the Mosul Dam upstream and several other large dams in Turkey.

It was completed in 1956 by the German company Züblin. Designs were completed by the British firm Voganlei and Coode. The power station was commissioned in 1972. The Samarra Barrage portion of the structure has 17 gates capable of passing 7,000 m3/s (247,203 cu ft/s) of water to the Tigris while the Tharthar regulator can divert up to 9,000 m3/s (317,832 cu ft/s) into a canal with 36 gates. The reservoir's design capacity is 150,000,000 m3 (121,607 acre·ft) but much of that is filled with sediment.[1][2]

The intent was to use water stored from the Samarra Barrage and the Ramadi Barrage for irrigation. However, evaporation on Lakes Habbaniyah and Tharthar lead to reduces storage and high salinity; conditions unsuitable for irrigation.[3]

In April 2015 the Tharthar Barrage was captured by The Islamic State after several days of fighting that saw 120 Iraqi soldiers and a senior Iraqi general killed. The jihadist group also took over a nearby military barracks during the battle.[4]


  1. ^ "Iraqi Dam Assessments" (PDF). Iraq: United States Army, Corps of Engineers. 6 June 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Electrical Power Stations in Iraq" (PDF). Arab Union of Electricity. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Managing Water For Peace: The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers". United Nations University. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Islamic State captures dam, overruns base in western Iraq". the Long War Journal. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 

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