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Water: A simple comfort for the citizens of Baghdad

By Kerry L. Marsala
web posted February 13, 2006

Clean refreshing water, dispensed directly from the tap into our waiting glass… free from deadly contaminations… something we enjoy here daily without reflection. Our government values her citizens and they uphold the highest standards as they provide us daily, via a state of the art water system, safe drinking water. We all conduct ourselves with a matter of indifference as we turn on our faucets, run our dishwashers, load our washing machines and water our farmlands… that the water pouring forth is free from diseases that cause life-threatening incidences. How blessed we are to live in a land that believes in caring for its citizens, and how often we forget that many do not have such privileges, nor governments that provide for the common good of all her citizens.

During the tyrannical era of Saddam's rule, the structure of water supply for the neighboring cities of Baghdad was permitted to decay. This forced 300,00 residents to get their water from nearby canals. A practice that was dangerous, for not only health reasons, i.e. filthy water in the canals caused severe intestinal outbreaks, but also those who went to the canals were in constant danger of being shot at by the insurgents.

The Iraqi government took the directive in planning and organizing these projects, proving how far they have come in terms of having the ability to lead their towns, cities and ultimately their own nation. The local leaders in cooperation with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division engineer project office made the restoration of water a priority. A top priority that brought with it the good news, which is now pouring, forth from this region, and due to the recent drop in insurgent activity it allowed such projects like this one to be completed ahead of schedule.

This major repair project took place in three stages, restoring the Kaa Kaa Water Treatment facility, the renovation of the SheShibar Booster Station, which pumps and routes the water to various locales and lastly the repairing of the broken feeder line, which had been ruptured when the insurgents detonated an improvised explosive device.

Furthermore, in the town of Al Muhawil, located about 54 miles south of Baghdad, a new water treatment plant opened recently. Mayor Hussein Jabor, of Al Muhawil and Captain Brian McCarthy, commander, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division began working together a couple of years ago along with other coalition forces and the Iraqi citizens to help meet the needs of those in the communities and towns. With the ribbon cutting ceremony now fulfilled one million cubic liters of water are pumping through the Al Muhawil station on a daily basis. Currently as plans move forward, a similar project will be concluded on the other side of town later this year, which will, "bring clean drinking water to more than 20,000 residents for the first time in many years," according to Captain McCarthy. Add to this good news, the fact that clean water will benefit farmers, and a healthy agricultural industry creates a stronger economy. Such a simple everyday need has far-reaching positive accomplishments.

It appears to be a worldwide belief that the only thing coalition forces do is patrol the streets or track down terrorists, but what our forces have and are achieving reaches far beyond our limited view. According to Mayor Jabor, "People need to see the progress being made. They need to know that we're taking care of the future of Iraq. Soon, our security forces will allow us to live and prosper all over this great country of ours." 

Our praise goes out to the new Iraqi government and to the ingenuity of the fellow coalition forces for working hard to provide clean and safe water for the Iraqi citizens. A precious commodity that we take for granted here, now flows forth freely, to be enjoyed straight from the tap- streaming into a waiting glass.

Kerry L. Marsala is a freelance journalist who is terrible at being patient enough to check punctuation and grammar. She figures if Bernard Shaw can get away with it, she might have a chance too.

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