National Guard Provides Water in Four States
By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 13, 2010 National Guardsmen in four states are providing drinking water to communities with broken or damaged water systems caused by recent freezing temperatures.
Left to right, Army Spc. Anthony Brewer, Jason Thomas of the Bon Secour Fire Department in Baldwin County, Ala., and Army Pfc. Kevin Offutt help to fill jugs with nonpotable water for the citizens of Thomasville, Ala. Due to subzero temperatures, many residents in Thomasville and surrounding towns had been without water for almost a week. Brewer and Offutt, along with two other Alabama National Guardsmen, are expected remain in Thomasville for as long as there is a need. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Katrina Timmons
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and Arkansas have deployed the personnel and equipment needed to produce water until local communities are able to make the necessary repairs to restore sufficient water supply to their citizens.
In Louisiana, four soldiers have provided the LaSalle, Tensas and Madison parishes with one 5,000-gallon water tanker each to support their damaged water systems. The tankers likely will remain in place for the next 24 to 72 hours until repairs are made to the water systems, officials said.
Since May, the Louisiana Guard has delivered water to distribution points throughout Ferriday, La., to ensure that residents have an adequate supply of drinking water due to problems with water wells in Concordia Parish.
In Alabama, four soldiers and two 6,000-gallon water trailers are expected to be on state active duty for about seven days in response to water shortages in Clarke County caused by freezing temperatures.
In Kentucky, 18 soldiers and two tactical water-purification systems from the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion have provided water into the Buckhorn water system since Jan. 6. State officials also reported that the Hazard municipal water system, which serves Perry County, was forced to shut off service to repair a large leak. Service is gradually being restored, Guard officials said, but frigid weather, ice, and air in the pipes have complicated efforts to restore service.
Finally, the Arkansas Guard has deployed six soldiers provide water to the cities of Casa, Adona, Marshall and Leslie with three 400-gallon “water buffaloes” and a 5,000-gallon water tanker. The main water lines in these cities have been damaged by the recent frigid temperatures.
(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau. Army Sgt. Michael Owens of the Louisiana National Guard contributed to this report.)