By Army Pfc. Evan Loyd
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 7, 2008 - Local sheiks and Iraqi coalition soldiers feasted in celebration of a water distribution system now complete in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, Nov. 4. "Before this system, some people had no water besides the dirty canal water," Sheik Kagoob Joad al-Merce said. "Now, many of those people have clean drinking water for the first time in their lives."
Six months ago, coalition forces helped to complete a water treatment plant for the region, but the plant could supply only a small amount of water to surrounding area.
Dean Michael, a bilingual bicultural advisor with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, developed an underground water distribution pipe system that enables clean drinking water to flow from the treatment plant to more than 30,000 Iraqi citizens.
The project was funded through the Iraqi Commander's Emergency Relief Program. Coalition and Iraqi security forces provided security during construction.
"It is good to see the people getting what they need, and I look forward to working with the coalition forces on future projects," Col. Muhammad, commander of the Iraqi Army's 3rd Battalion, 25th Brigade, said.
This project clearly emphasized to the local citizens the cooperative relationship between the Coalition and the Government of Iraq, said Army Capt. Benjamin Neasse, civil affairs officer of the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
"I am glad I could see this finished," he said. It's great to see how many people we have helped. This is what I came to Iraq to do."
(Army Pfc. Evan Loyd serves with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.)