Iraqis, Coalition Forces Work Together to Solve Water Issues
American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq , Oct. 26, 2007 Getting potable drinking water to residents of the New Baghdad district of the Iraqi capital was the focus of a meeting here Oct. 22.
Community leaders joined soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, to try to hammer out solutions. The main problem cited was improper connections to the water supply, which leads to water line leaks and breaks, low water pressure and disease.
Army 1st Lt. Joseph Gray of Rochester, N.H., a member of 2nd IBCT's embedded provincial reconstruction team, stressed to attendees the meeting was "primarily to identify issues and come back with solutions.”
"Solutions are not about pointing out who is at fault,” he said. “Nothing has been done to this point, and we are concerned with fixing the problems."
Mohammed Hader, the District Advisory Council vice president for the area, said tapping into water lines was done mainly by squatters, and that it was causing environmental problems. He added that these issues have been raised before, but nothing has changed.
That led to a discussion about how this time could be different. Possible solutions aired included municipal water delivery, solar-powered filtration systems, personal filtration units, repairing and replacing broken lines and building a water-bottling plant.
Other issues raised were a lack of spare parts and a shortage of maintenance personnel. An inadequate water distribution network also was discussed.
Officials said coalition forces have spent almost $13 million this year getting potable water to New Baghdad district residents, and that possible solutions like those aired at the meeting can further the coalition and Iraqi goal of getting clean drinking water to the people.
(From a Multinational Division Baghdad news release.)