BAGHDAD, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- The Mosul Dam, above the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Baghdad on the Tigris River, faces a possible catastrophic failure, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad warned Monday.
It referred to the risk as "serious and unprecedented."
"We have no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur."
The 2 mile-long dam holds back up to 2.7 cubic miles of water, and if it gave way a 10 foot high wall of water would inundate Mosul and flood Baghdad, in an area of nearly 1.5 million inhabitants.
The embassy stressed preparation in the event of a failure but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi downplayed the possibility of a disaster, calling it "unlikely." He said the dam is maintained regularly and a World Bank-funded rehabilitation program is in the works.
He suggested, though, that those living near the Tigris River prepare to move to higher ground in the event of an emergency.