Kut

Kut

Al-Kūt (Arabic: الكوت‎; BGN: Al Kūt; also spelled Kut al-Imara or Kut El Amara, Kurdish: Kût) is a city in eastern Iraq, on the left bank of the Tigris River, about 160 kilometres (99 miles) south east of Baghdad. As of 2003 the estimated population is about 374,000 people. It is the capital of the province long known as Al Kut, but since the 1960s renamed Wasit.

The old town of Kut is within a sharp "U" bend of the river, almost making it an island but for a narrow connection to the shore. For centuries Kut was a regional center of the carpet trade. The area around Kut is a fertile cereal grain growing region. The Kut Barrage was constructed in the city in the 1930s to provide irrigation water for the surrounding area. The Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility, looted following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is located near Kut.

The Kut Barrage is a barrage on the Tigris river, located in the modern town of Kut in Wasit Governorate, Iraq. It is 516 metres (1,693 feet) long, 10.5 metres (34 feet) high and consists of 56 gates, each 6 metres (20 feet) wide. The maximum discharge of the barrage is 6,000 cubic metres (7,800 cu yd), but actual discharge has not exceeded 2,000 cubic metres (2,600 cu yd) in the last 10 years. The barrage supports a road and includes a lock for boats passing up and down the Tigris. Its purpose is to maintain a sufficiently high water level in the Tigris to provide water for the Gharraf irrigation canal, which branches off the Tigris just upstream from the Kut Barrage. Before the construction of the Kut Barrage, the Gharraf canal only received water during periods of flood in the Tigris. The water level in the canal is maintained by the Gharraf Head Regulator, which was constructed at the same time as the Kut Barrage.

The Kut Barrage was constructed between 1934 and 1939 by British firms. Construction of the barrage was carried out by 2,500 Arab and Kurdish workers, and involved the removal of 1,223,288 cubic metres (1,600,000 cu yd) of ground. For the barrage itself 191,139 cubic metres (250,000 cu yd) of concrete was used. A major flood in the Tigris in 1936 caused the building site to be flooded entirely and led to the temporary standstill of the construction works.

In 1952, 26,440 hectares (65,300 acres) were irrigated from water provided by the Gharraf Canal. Of this newly reclaimed land, 14,080 hectares (34,800 acres) was distributed to small farmers as part of a social land reform program. These farmers received 10 hectares (25 acres) per family and were required to live on the land they farmed. In 2005, repairs and maintenance works were carried out at the Kut Barrage and the Gharraf Head Regulator for a total cost of US$3 million.

Read more about Kut:  The Siege of Kut, Contingency Operating Base Delta (COB Delta)

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