Tharthar Project

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Reservoir constructed in eastern Iraq to control flooding and provide irrigation.

The Wadi al-Tharthar is a vast natural depression forty-two miles (68 km) southwest of Samarra and one hundred miles (160 km) north of Baghdad between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Iraqi Development Board, on the recommendation of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, created an enormous storage reservoir in the Wadi al-Tharthar depression to drain runoff from the Tigris and thereby protect Baghdad from flooding. Staged construction of the reservoir, the largest earth-moving project of its kind in the Middle East, began in 1952. A regulator built on the Tigris near Samarra diverted excess water into the reservoir, which was also connected by a channel with the Euphrates. By 1972, with a capacity of 110 billion cubic yards (85 billion cu. m) when filled to a height of 200 feet (60 m) above sea level, the water contained in the reservoir could be used to irrigate nearly half a million acres (200,000 ha) of land.


Salter, Lord. The Development of Iraq: A Plan of Action. London, 1955.

albertine jwaideh