Jun 06, 2007

U.S. Military Engineers Improve Iraqi Water, Sewer Services

U.S. military engineers have completed nearly 300 major water and sewage projects in Baghdad and across Iraq in the past few years, U.S. military officers reported.

“We’re proud that we’re continuing to reach our target of providing over 1 million cubic meters of potable water per day,” said Air Force Col. Lonny Baker, water sector director for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division in Iraq. Baker is nearing the end of a six-month tour in Iraq and spoke to the media during a Baghdad news conference June 2.

Key Iraqi water-treatment facilities are now up and running in Irbil, Nasiriyah and Sadr City, as well as in numerous rural-areas, Baker said. About 290 water-treatment projects in Iraq have been completed out of a planned 400-plus, he added.

The U.S. government has provided more than $2 billion toward refurbishment of Iraq’s water- and sewage-treatment infrastructure. There’re still 100 or so water projects left to complete, including well-drilling projects, pumping stations, pipelines and storage tanks, Baker said.

“While our large projects are certainly important, I want to emphasis that our smaller projects are equally important,” he said. “There are over 70 small rural water projects that are important to those outlying communities.”

Sustaining newly built or rehabilitated Iraqi water and sewage facilities is just as important as providing them, Baker said, noting it is “key to the successful operation of these facilities and continuing essential services to the people of Iraq.”

Iraqi managers and operators at more than 140 water and sewage facilities are slated to receive support and operations and maintenance training so that those facilities can become self-sustaining, Baker said.