AR RAMADI, Iraq -- The governor of Iraq’s Al Anbar province, Ma’amoun Sami Rasheed, signed a $2.6 million contract to supply, connect and install five water treatment plants throughout the province here Nov. 23.
“This project is a service to the people of the province,” said Rasheed. “With better water they will be able to live better lives.”
The five water treatment plants, which should be completed in four months, will draw water from the Euphrates River, purify it and deposit it into communal water sources in Ar Ramadi, Habbaniyah, Hit and Haditha, said Lt. Col. John Krizan, Provincial Support Team officer.
“In 12 hours, each pump will supply enough water to support close to 20,000 people, and close to 40,000 people if used for 24 hours a day. With five pumps, roughly 200,000 people can be supplied based on a 30 gallon per person ration.”
The project was under development for close to five months, according to Krizan. Clean water was identified by the Iraqi Provincial Reconstruction Development Council as a top priority when it was initially stood up in June 2005.
“This project was one of the first of the original projects started in June,” he said. “It has gone through a variety of procedures to satisfy the very stringent requirements for a job like this. Through everyone’s diligence and patience, it got the requirements solved.”
Approving the project wasn’t without obstacles, though. One factor required for the project to become a reality was making sure the buildings would be constructed using methods generally accepted in Iraq, such as using reinforced concrete, cement plastered brick or cell-fill masonry.
Another hurdle was the lengthy legal review involved because of the value of the contract. The contract was determined on Nov. 16 to be “legally sufficient” by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
But, by far, the most serious impediment to completing a project in this region – especially a high-dollar project such as this – is security.
“Security is a concern but especially with this project,” said Rasheed. “The people of Al Anbar must take some responsibility to protect it. If they let the insurgents destroy it, they only hurt themselves. This is a joint effort. Together we can make a difference.”
Not only will the pumps bring water to the people of Al Anbar, but it will also create jobs and provide a more stable environment for the residents, said Ma’amoun. The governor said he believes the project will bring more people into the cities and will raise their sense of trust in the government.
“We look forward to more of these projects,” said Brig. Gen. James L. Williams, Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Marine Division, who was on hand for the signing. “(The governor’s) success is my success. When he succeeds, so do we.”
The water purification project is only one of a myriad of projects already in the works.
“The first main goal is to solve the problems for the basic needs of the people,” said Rasheed. “The water purification project will help a lot. We also need to be able to communicate more efficiently with all the people in the province.”
The governor also emphasized that security is a concern that needs to receive more attention. Recruiting soldiers for the Iraqi Army and other security forces has improved, but Rasheed believes the province is not where it wants to be quite yet.
“There are three factors,” said Rasheed. “If we can put these three factors together and improve on them, we’ll make (the province) better.”
The water treatment plant project represents the largest reconstruction project that the PST/PRDC team has successfully developed using the current system.
“This project is the fruit of our combined labor,” said Rasheed. “This is just one of the things we’ve been working on and looking forward to. Today we achieved a tremendous goal.”