By Kendal Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service
June 18, 2008 - The Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division is working to ensure Baghdad's water supply with nonstop operations for the Karkh Water Treatment Plant near Taji, northwest of Baghdad. In a $20 million project, the back-up generator system is being restored to keep potable water flowing to 50 percent of Baghdad residents without interruption or worries over low levels in reservoirs.
The plant pumps an overall daily output of 1.36 million liters through a 2.1-meter-diameter pipe connected to several Baghdad reservoirs and also supplies the immediate communities around Karkh. Power outages at the plant stop the output cycle, and water reserves and resources diminish.
"The electrical power for the plant sometimes is off for three to four hours a day, and that means we cannot contribute water to the reservoirs. That is not a good situation for our customers," reported an Iraqi plant engineer at Karkh.
In 2005, the Karkh plant was heavily damaged by a vehicle bomb. Repair of the key elements for a continuous supply is expected to take until October.
"Good, clean water means a lot for any community, and Baghdad is no exception," said Navy Lt. Cdr. Paul Chan, officer in charge of the Gulf Region Division's central district resident office in Taji. "This is a very significant project in the stabilization of essential services for the entire Baghdad area."
The Corps of Engineers project primarily is for design, supplies, labor and equipment relating to system repairs of the Rolls-Royce Avon 8.5 megawatt generators, which are the backup power source for the plant. The project also will overhaul and replace raw- and treated-water valves to increase both efficiency and capacity of the plant.
(Kendal Smith is a public affairs officer with the Gulf Region Central District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq.)