By Army Spc. Anthony Hutchins
Special to American Forces Press Service
July 23, 2008 - Water is a critical resource in the desert, and the water level at Camp Victory here has decreased significantly over the past few months, the result of an unseasonably dry winter that saw very little rain. The water levels in Al Faw Lake and Slayer Lake dropped below the preferable lower limit in the spring. But with 926th Engineer Brigade assisting in repairs to water pumps at the Jaddriyah Pump Station, the water levels in the two lakes have stabilized.
The repaired station has helped Iraqis in three ways, the brigade's deputy commander noted. "It has created jobs, rebuilt the existing infrastructure, and helped improve irrigation," Army Col. Philip Jolly said.
The water levels on Camp Victory fall under the purview of the Department of Public Works and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but since the Jaddriyah Pump Station falls within the Multinational Division Baghdad operational environment, 4th Infantry Division assigned repair responsibility to 926th Engineer Brigade, Jolly explained.
The Jaddriyah Pump Station also supplies water to the Radwaniyah area in southern Baghdad. The 4th Infantry Division and 926th Engineer Brigade are repairing it to improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people who live in the areas it feeds. With additional pumps working, more water can be supplied to the Iraqis living in the Radwaniyah district.
"They have already seen improvements, as more water is flowing through the water treatment units in the area," said Army Maj. James Daffron.
As the water flow increases in the lakes, excess water will flow to the canals for the Iraqi people in the surrounding area. About 1,000 local farms will get the much-needed water, which will provide a boost to the local agriculture industry and additional food and employment opportunities to the residents of Radwaniyah.
Before the 926th started working with operators at the pump station, only two of 10 pumps were working. The station is designed to work with six large pumps in operation at one time, pumping 16,000 gallons per minute. The station has eight large pumps and two small pumps, and the two large pumps that were working prior to the brigade's involvement were not always working at full capacity. Due to faulty and outdated equipment, workers often needed to shut down the station for repairs.
Now, seven out of eight large pumps are in operation, and work is in progress to improve the overall efficiency of the station. Also, a 28-week training course will teach Iraqi citizens how to operate and maintain the plant and improve the efficiency of operations.
"This would give them usable skills that would keep them employed and away from insurgent militias," Daffron said
(Army Spc. Anthony Hutchins serves with Multinational Division Baghdad in the 926th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs Office.)