New pipelines are providing valuable clean water all over Iraq. Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams from the U.S. State Department work alongside military and local engineering units during deployment, making huge progress. These projects are popping up across the country, and some places are seeing water for the first time in over 15 years.
By Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky
A water pipeline project began Jan. 24 to lower and extend Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kalsu’s existing system in Iraq about 25 miles (40 km) south of Baghdad.
“We need to lower the pipe about three to four feet,” said William Walters, the Kalsu site supervisor. He said the change was needed because the canal is currently lower than normal.
Nearly 500,000 gallons of water needs to be pumped in from the Tigris River each day. The Kalsu Mayor Cell, in conjunction with Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Iraqi contractors, began to lower and extend the pipe system to keep up with the water demand.
Lowering the pipe will help place it at a level where it will allow the base’s reverse osmosis (RO) water purification unit to continue to draw water.
Initially, the pipe was to be installed lower, but due to the water level of the canal last June, it couldn’t be lowered further. With water receding, the decision was made to make the changes, Walters said.
Sana Beirut, an Iraqi construction company, will install an additional 100 feet of pipe, said Robert Gotshall, chief of services for FOB Kalsu. The additional length will place the pipe out to the center of the canal. As it is now, a small tributary to the canal leads to the pipe but it dries out before reaching it.
The project took about 10 hours, but will pay a large dividend far beyond the immediate value of the project. First Lt. Andrew Shadley, Kalsu mayor cell, said the construction should resolve all the base’s current water shortage issues.
“This project will solve all those problems completely,” he said.
Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky, a U.S. Army public affairs officer who also shot the photos that illustrate this article, is based at FOB Kalsu, south of Baghdad, with the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, which is operating as part of the Multi-National Division in the reconstruction of Iraq. Contact: www.taskforcemarne.com
OTHER PROJECTS: Yusifiyah 1 Pump Station Nears Completion
Farmers south of Baghdad are beginning to get much needed water for their fields as the Yusifiyah 1 pump station moves toward completion. On Jan. 9, the project manager visited the site to assess what else needs to be done to keep the pumps running.
Twelve pumps make up the Yusifiyah pump station. When the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, responsible for ensuring functionality of the pumps, arrived in June only four worked. The remaining eight were beyond repair or parts needed to fix them weren’t available.
New pumps have been installed and others fixed. Water is pumped out of the Tigris River to supply irrigation water between Arab Jabour and Maderiyah, about 15 km south of Arab Jabour.
The 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., took the lead in repairing the pumps. The battalion’s leadership identified them as one of the most important irrigation pump stations in the region. When running efficiently, they’ll provide more than enough water to the canals.
“Yusifiyah 1 is an integral part of restoring water to every part of Spartan’s (2nd BCT) area of operations,” said 1st Lt. Sam Clegg, Yusifiyah 1 project manager. “By repairing Yusifiyah 1, we are helping all the Iraqi people of AO Spartan.”
When this article was written, Iraq was in its rainy season when irrigation isn’t needed as much. When the summer heat returns, however, irrigation water is vital to Iraq’s farming regions.
Iraqi contractors do the work to repair and install new pumps, funded by the U.S. Army Commander’s Emergency Response Program. CERP monies are dedicated to Iraqi reconstruction and emergencies that may arise – supported by the Iraq Ministry of Irrigation.
Clegg said the pumps should be working by the end of January with full project completion in February. “It has been a long process getting this facility repaired,” he said. “But now the end is in sight and we are excited to finish the work and get the entire station up and running.”
In other news, Coalition Forces, local leaders and citizens celeb rated the Hamiyah Water Treatment Plant grand opening Feb. 3 near Iskandariyah. An old plant, so small it only provided water to about 100 households, routed water away from the neighboring area of Babahane into Hamiyah. The new plant, which took almost a year to complete and will be able to serve almost 10,000 people, serves both.