Soldiers' Pump Project Helps Iraqi Farmers
By Pfc. Chris Jones, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
AL JEZEERA REGION, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2003 Thousands of gallons of water surged from a reservoir into an aqueduct Oct. 12 at the Al Jezeera Pump Station, the start of a long journey to serve more than 200,000 farmers throughout the arid plains of Northern Iraq.
With support from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Iraqi engineers worked to fix the water pump, which was inoperative before Operation Iraqi Freedom. After nearly three months of sweat, engineers brought the pump back to life two weeks ago, and on Oct. 12 Iraqi citizens and 101st soldiers watched thousands of gallons of water propel through a dam into an aqueduct, with the pull of a lever.
"This is one of the greatest projects in the Ninevah province," said 101st commander Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus. "It shows again there's nothing that can't be done if we work together."
Thousands of gallons of water stream through a dam at the Al Jezeera Pump Station near the Syrian border. An Oct. 12 ceremony celebrated the completion of the third stage in a project designed by coalition forces to replenish the water supply in Northern Iraq. Army photo by Pfc. Chris Jones
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The water in the reservoir is not filtered, therefore it will be used primarily for nourishing crops and feeding domestic animals, Petraeus said.
"This aqueduct will offer constant water for livestock and farms throughout the region," he said. "Now, farmers will be able to plant crops in more than just one season (the rainy season), therefore increasing output, and therefore increasing the economy."
With the success of the waterway, the 101st completed the third stage in a project designed to increase water dispersion in the Ninevah province.
"This project required many different types of people to work together," said Ninevah province Gov. Ghanim Al-Basso, "and that's not an ordinary thing for many people in Iraq."
Petraeus said the pump station is running more efficiently than it has in years, and it will continue to be manned by Iraqi workers.
"It has been running perfectly 24 hours a day for the past few weeks without problems," he said.
"Eventually," Petraeus continued jokingly, "we want there to be so much water in the Al Jezeera area that the farmers have to say, 'Stop, no more.'"
(Army Pfc. Chris Jones is assigned to the 40th Public Affairs Detachment.)