By Army Sgt. Dustin Roberts
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 29, 2009 - Close to a thousand families in the Khandari area west of the Iraqi capital now have clean water for everyday use, as the Khandari Water Treatment Facility opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 27 in the Abu Ghraib district. Contracted through the local government and Multinational Division Baghdad, the facility, which took close to three months to complete, treats and purifies 5 million to 8 million gallons of water per-day.
"This is a culmination of the efforts of many people, to include coalition forces and the local government," Army Lt. Col. Samuel Hayes, commander of 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, said. "We have been working with the Iraqis very hard to make sure that everybody in Abu Ghraib has clean water to use every day."
The water facility will also help about 500 additional families by preserving the water that flowed through the original pipeline prior to the construction of the facility.
"I am so glad that these families are being taken care of," said Ali Ishmael, director of the Nasir Wa Salam water office. "This place will be a very big help in the future, especially in the summer months."
To provide more assistance to the people, the battalion's leaders continue to work with the local government to carry out more water treatment projects, electricity projects, a market opening and school projects in the Abu Ghraib district. Hayes said essential-service projects demand hours of planning, but the average citizen doesn't notice.
"This is a physical example of the government's desire to help the individual Iraqi," Hayes said. "When they drive by,they see this facility, and when they turn their faucet on at home they have clean water, and they know they can safely use it."
A concern of the local residents in Khandari is keeping the facility secure from insurgents and special group criminals. Hayes said Iraqi security forces, who lead in securing the facility, have improved immensely at combating violence in Abu Ghraib.
"Certainly, there is an ongoing concern about the security in Abu Ghraib, and there is still work to be done there, but I don't think we would have been able to do this two years ago," he said. "There has been a lot of effort by coalition forces, but more importantly, the Iraqi security forces have made great progress in this effort."
(Army Sgt. Dustin Roberts serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)