Darbandikhan Lake is one of the three large lakes in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, 230 km northeast
of Baghdad. It is fed by two main tributaries: the Tanjero River, which flows in from the
north/northwest, and the Sirwan River, which flows in from the east (from Iran).
This and the surrounded area is a biological diverse area for wildlife and listed as an Important
Bird Area in Iraq by BirdLife International. Many people benefit from this lake and its waters as
it is used as a source for drinking and irrigation water, as an important fisheries, and as a
beautiful site used by many for recreation. It is also an important source of electricity generated
by the Darbandikhan Dam.
Darbandikhan Lake is currently at a high risk due to pollution by sewage and municipal wastes.
Its water levels are threatened by the current severe drought affecting the region as a whole and
by work in Iran to install a dam on the Sirwan River. Other dams have been constructed (the
Chaq Chaq Dam near Sulaimani, which was built in 2005 and subsequently broke in the spring
of 2006 due to design failures) or are proposed (an irrigation dam in the Qara Ali area along the
Tanjero between Sulaimani & the lake).