Skip to comments.Bolstering security, improving quality of life in Iraq
Posted on 08/12/2006 3:22:20 PM PDT by SandRat
BAGHDAD As news here this week centered on bolstering Baghdad security, quality of life projects are still progressing with notable results in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.
For nearly two years, the Al Wathba Water Treatment Plant has been undergoing a $22 million upgrade to bring fresh, potable water to Baghdad residents.
That facility serves the Rusafa area in northeast Baghdad with markets, businesses, medical facilities, and about 300,000 residents dependent on its output.
Al Wathba is more than 40 years old and the dilapidated, poorly maintained equipment was producing about 1,000 cubic meters (264172.1 gallons) of drinking water per hour, said Iraqi project engineer Sadiq, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Central District International Zone office.
The renovation included state-of-the-art new pumps, pipes, filters, new chlorination system, and new controls for automatic operation. We expanded the plants capacity almost two and a half times and it is now able to produce 2,400 cubic meters (634012.9 gallons) of water per hour. Last week we tested the system and immediately started getting thank you calls from area residents who appreciate the increased pressure and quantity of fresh water available in their homes and businesses.
Sadiq is pleased with the quality of work and said the project should be completed in about two months.
Without this investment, Al Wathba would have had to be shut down, he said. The old equipment could not have continued to handle the demand.
Elsewhere in Iraq, Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division conducted Operation River Falcon in an effort to support future quality-of-life projects and more operations in Sayifiyah, Iraq.
Located southeast of Baghdad on the Tigris River, the small area had become a sanctuary for terrorists.
Security concerns in other areas of Iraq caused security forces leadership to shift their focus to those areas, leaving the relatively peaceful town of Sayifiyah unguarded, according to 1st Lt. Leon Satchell, a 4th ID platoon leader.
In July, Soldiers rode into town inside Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles in search of terrorists. Five suspects were detained during the initial cordon and search mission.
We sent a strong message that the area is no longer a place where the enemy can move freely, said Capt. Colin Brooks, commander, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment. They will think twice about conducting (terrorist) operations in Sayifiyah.
Soldiers continued searching houses and introducing themselves to many weary and mystified residents who were unsure of the Soldiers reasons for coming into town.
On the final day of the operation, the Soldiers set out to meet the residents and explain to them they were in town to get rid of the terrorists. They handed out humanitarian aid bags, food, and a variety of helpful items and TIPS cards so the residents could inform Coalition or Iraqi security forces of further terrorist activity in the area.
In addition to bolstering security there, the Soldiers also took the opportunity to discuss the lack of power their town had experienced for the past four to six months. The power line had been severed by terrorists in Baghdad. Without power, the water purification plant shut down, and many were unable to work without electricity.
At first, the residents seemed unsure of why the Soldiers were in their town, and they werent convinced they wanted to communicate with anyone, said Satchell.
They soon realized we were here for their well-being and opened up to us. Once we start producing, theyll start telling us who the enemy is, he said.
Soldiers could see the perception of the locals change in just three days, according to Brooks.
Until a few days ago, the terrorists were winning in this town. That is no longer the case, Brooks said.
Seeing the Soldiers ride in here was like having all of our wishes come true, said Abdul, a lifelong resident of Sayifiyah. That is the first sign of hope this year.
Murtha ain't gonna like this!!!