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India's Shivsu Canadian installs Rs 52 crore worth water plant for Iraqi government

Chennai-based Shivsu Canadian Clear International Limited, a leading water technology solutions provider and manufacturer of mineral water packaging equipments, has become the first Indian company to successfully install Rs 52 crore worth desalination water plant for Iraqi Government. Shivsu's work includes design, manufacture, supply, construction and commissioning of the plant on a turnkey basis, a company release said. The capacity of the plant is 20 MLD (million liters per day). newKerala.com_ 12/28/09

Water shortage forces more than 100,000 from homes in north Iraq since 2005: UNESCO

Over 100,000 people in northern Iraq have been forced to evacuate their homes since 2005 because of severe water shortages, a UNESCO study finds. Drought and excessive well pumping have drawn down aquifer levels in the region, causing a dramatic decline of water flow in ancient underground aqueducts, known in Iraq as karez, upon which hundreds of communities depend. The study is the first to document the effects of the ongoing drought on the karez systems, which thousands of Iraqis have depended upon for their drinking water and farming for centuries. News Release_ 10/13/09

Iraq water: Drought and regional water policies drying up Euphrates River

The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of neighboring Turkey and Syria, a two-year drought and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now. It is a crisis that threatens the roots of Iraq’s identity. There are at least seven dams on the Euphrates in Turkey and Syria, according to Iraqi water officials, and with no treaties or agreements, the Iraqi government is reduced to begging its neighbors for water. But many U.S., Turkish and even Iraqi officials say the real problem lies in Iraq’s own deplorable water management policies. New York Times_ 7/13/09

Turkey lets more water out of dams into Iraq

Turkey has boosted the flow of the Euphrates river passing through its dams upstream of Iraq to help farmers cope with a drought after Iraqi complaints, but it is still not enough, a top Iraqi lawmaker said on Saturday. Iraq is mostly desert and its inhabitable areas are slaked by the Tigris, which comes down from Turkey, the Euphrates, also from Turkey but passing through Syria, and a network of smaller rivers from Iran, some of which feed the Tigris. Iraq accuses Turkey, and to a lesser extent Syria, of choking the Euphrates by placing hydroelectric dams on it that have restricted water flow, damaging an Iraqi agricultural sector already hit by decades of war, sanctions and neglect. Reuters_ 5/23/09

Some US soldiers forced to steal water in Iraq

While many soldiers say they had good access to water and even Gatorade, the 11 News Defenders discovered that others, stationed all over the country and during all phases of this desert war, say they didn't have nearly enough. One said his company in 2003 eventually became desperate and raided supplies at the Baghdad International Airport, where there was a plentiful supply. It was in the hands of civilian contractors, who the soldier claims were supposed to be distributing it to soldiers. Water shortages continued in other parts of Iraq at other locations too, according to other soldiers. KHOU_ 5/12/09

Iraq parliament demands more water from Turkey, Syria and Iran

In a resolution, Iraqi lawmakers agreed to block any agreement signed with the three nations that does not include a clause granting Iraq a fairer share of water resources. The resolution's passage is likely to turn up the heat on a long-running dispute between Iraq and the neighbouring states, whose mountains feed the arid nation's rivers. Reuters_ 5/12/09

Water on agenda for Iraq-Turkey talks

Turkish President Abdullah Gul was expected to hold talks on Tuesday in Baghdad on Iraq's need for more water to fight severe drought as he wraps up a landmark visit to his eastern neighbour. Iraqi newspapers gave wide coverage to Gul's trip, the first in 33 years by a Turkish head of state, and said it was important to discuss water issues. Iraq is in the grip of a severe drought and needs more water for agriculture and drinking. It is trying to secure a water-sharing agreement with Turkey and Syria in a bid to increase the flow of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which are fed from waters flowing from its neighbours, to end severe shortages. AFP_ 3/24/09

Oregon National Guard members may have been exposed to cancer-causing chemical at Iraq water plant

The Oregon National Guard has written to 433 of its soldiers to say they may have been exposed to a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water pumping plant at Basra in 2003, shortly after the war began. A spokesman for the Guard, Maj. Mike Braibish, said three companies of the 162nd Infantry Battalion were deployed in Kuwait, and the troops were sent into Iraq to escort employees of Houston-based KBR, which was inspecting oil facilities. He said no symptoms indicating exposure to the chemical, hexavalent chromium, had been reported so far, but some soldiers may have been treated but no one informed the Oregon Guard. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) earlier raised concerns about the Indiana Guard. AP/New York Times_ 2/12/09

December, 2008

France's Degremont wins $201 million Baghdad water contract
The Baghdad Water Authority has awarded a contract worth $201 million to France's Degremont, a subsidiary of Suez Environment, for construction of a drinking water plant in the Iraqi capital. The contract will be completed jointly with a group of Al Mabrook Construction & Trading and Issam al-Iraqi Construction Contractors companies. The plant will have a capacity of 200 million gallons per day. The project will supply more than four million people with water, according to a company statement. Trade Arabia News Service_ 12/30/08

Clean water in Iraq often unavailable

Waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid are endemic. A cholera outbreak this past summer sickened hundreds in Baghdad and Babil province. Diarrhea is among the leading causes of childhood illness and death in Iraq, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, a nonprofit aid agency. Though estimates vary, most say that nearly half of Iraq’s people don’t have reliable access to safe drinking water. In a national survey that questioned 8,700 people in August, 58 percent said they can get clean water at least some of the time, according to a Defense Department report. For the rest, every sip is a gamble. In Baghdad, about two-thirds of the city’s sewage still flows untreated to rivers and other waterways, said Lt. Col. Jarrett Purdue, the head of the water sector for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division. McClatchy Newspapers/Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 11/9/08

Red Cross estimates millions of Iraqis at risk from polluted water

The International Committee of the Red Cross warns millions of Iraqis are at risk of disease from polluted water and inadequate health care. It says the situation of inadequate health care, water and sanitation services is particularly bad in the Iraqi countryside. While security and the provision of essential services have improved in recent months, decades of neglect, conflict and war in Iraq have taken a heavy toll in terms of crumbling infrastructure and chronic shortages in basic supplies and services.  The Red Cross estimates 40 percent of the population, mainly in the countryside and suburbs, lacks access to clean, piped in water. Voice of America_10/29/08

$100-million Iraq sewer project a failure, report says

In one of the most misguided reconstruction projects attempted in Iraq, the U.S. spent nearly $100 million to build a sewage treatment system for the city of Fallouja, according to a government audit report released today. Sewage continues to run in the streets, and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the system may never be properly connected to individual homes, lacks the necessary fuel to operate and is unlikely to ever cover the full city. Auditors found that in addition to the security problems it faced, the project was derailed after it was twice redesigned, costs skyrocketed and the U.S. government was paralyzed by "indecision" about what to do. Once scheduled for completion in January 2006, the project, which had a budget of $32.5-million, now is supposed to be finished in April, while costs have shot up to $98 million. Los Angeles Times_ 10/27/08 (logon required)

Sewage in water problem for Baghdad

Just months after Americans repaired a sewage treatment plant in Baghdad, insurgents killed the manager. Looters took care of the rest. Nearly three years later, the plant remains an abandoned shell. Raw sewage still flows freely through giant pipes into the Tigris River, ending up in the capital's drinking water. But now, the recent decline in violence is raising hopes that the government can focus on public services. Two-thirds of the raw sewage in the capital flows untreated into waterways, says Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. U.S. and Iraqi officials insist that the tap water in most of Baghdad is fairly good because it comes from less-polluted areas north of the city. In fact, more Iraqis have access to potable water now than before the war — 20 million people compared with 12.9 million previously, Bowen says in a report released Wednesday. AP/Houston Chronicle_ 8/1/08

Five years into the war, Iraqis still lack basic health care, clean water: Red Cross

A new Red Cross report says that five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, many Iraqis still lack adequate access to basic health care, sanitation and clean drinking water. Lack of security has been the major concern. Since the invasion, more than four million Iraqis have fled their homes, half of them going abroad, mostly to neighboring Jordan and Syria, while the rest remain displaced inside Iraq. Last year's U.S. troop surge has improved the security situation in and around Baghdad. But, the ICRC's Dorothea Krimitsas says life for millions of Iraqis remains unchanged. Voice of America_ 3/17/08

Associated Press: Water makes U.S. troops in Iraq sick

Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says. A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq. The Defense Department's inspector general's report, which could be released as early as Monday, found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations. It was impossible to link the dirty water definitively to all the illnesses, according to the report. But it said KBR's water quality "was not maintained in accordance with field water sanitary standards" and the military-run sites "were not performing all required quality control tests." The report said KBR took corrective steps and was providing adequate water quality by November 2006. But military units at the two sites they controlled were still failing to perform required quality control tests and maintain appropriate records by that time. The problems did not extend to troops' drinking water, but rather to water used for washing, bathing, shaving and cleaning. Water used for hygiene and laundry must meet minimum safety standards under military regulations because of the potential for harmful exposure through the eyes, nose, mouth, cuts and wounds. AP_ 3/9/08

Pentagon says water and other services in Iraq are stagnant despite 3-month significant reduction in violence

The report is the latest of the Pentagon’s quarterly assessments on progress in Iraq and offers the Bush administration’s most comprehensive assessment of security and economic trends there. As expected, the report chronicled a substantial decline in attacks on Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces and American troops — a reduction to numbers not seen since the summer of 2005, according to the Pentagon. But the assessment also indicated that the Iraqi government has been slow to take advantage of that downturn in violence by taking the political and economic steps to cement the security gains. The delivery of basic services is one area in which the United States has been urging the Iraq government to make progress. The hope is that improving the distribution of electricity, clean water and medical care would build public support for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and ease sectarian tensions. But the sectarian agenda of the Shiite-dominated Iraq government has been a hindrance, the study said, noting that there have been only “minimal advances in the delivery of essential services to the people of Iraq, mainly due to sectarian bias in targeting and execution of remedial programs." New York Times_ 12/19/07 (logon required)

U.S. struggles to restore drinking water to Iraqis

Despite the fact that Iraq and U.S. officials have made water projects among their top priorities, the percentage of Iraqis without access to decent water supplies has risen from 50 percent to 70 percent since the start of the U.S.-led war, according to an analysis by Oxfam International last summer. The portion of Iraqis lacking decent sanitation was even worse -- 80 percent. Now, though, some U.S. officials think they're about to make progress. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, using more than $1 billion in reconstruction funds, is building massive water treatment plants in urban areas, including one in the slums of Baghdad's Sadr City. Construction crews over the last three years, working there under heavy guard, have constructed a treatment plant that will produce an additional 25 million gallons of drinking water daily, enough for nearly 200,000 people. Miles of new water lines are also being installed, allowing 2 million of Sadr City's residents to tap directly into the new plant and existing water supplies. In Nasiriyah, a $277 million water treatment facility is to be handed over to Iraqis in December. It is billed as the largest facility of its kind in Iraq and is designed to provide clean drinking water for an estimated half-million people in southern Iraq. As many as 1,500 water treatment and sewage projects have been completed, with 150 more in progress, according to the corps of engineers. The aim is to deliver an additional 290 million gallons of water daily to the Iraqi population, and nearly three-fourths of that goal has been achieved, according to the corps. Oxfam officials remain cautious. "It's a bit premature to see how these projects will impact the situation," said Manal Omar, a regional program manager for Oxfam in the Middle East, who questioned whether the security situation will allow the new projects to take hold. McClatchy Newspapers_ 11/18/07

Cholera spreads in Iraq, aided by lack of clean water

Cholera is spreading in Iraq, where health authorities are struggling to provide enough clean drinking water to stem the potentially lethal water-borne disease, the World Health Organization said.  More than 30,000 people have suffered acute watery diarrhea, the main symptom of cholera, and 2,110 people have been diagnosed with the disease during the past month, WHO said yesterday in a statement on its Web site. About five of every 1,000 cases were fatal, the Geneva-based agency said.  Conflicts, sabotage and neglect since the 1991 Gulf War have damaged Iraq's water and sewerage treatment systems, leaving many Iraqis without clean drinking water, the World Bank said on its Web site. Thirty percent of Iraq's population has reliable access to safe water, the United Nations Children's Fund said in a statement yesterday.   Bloomberg_9/25/07

Graft in U.S. military contracts spread from base in Kuwait

Maj. John Lee Cockerham is behind bars, accused of orchestrating the largest single bribery scheme against the military since the start of the Iraq war. According to the authorities, the 41-year-old officer, with his wife and a sister, used an elaborate network of offshore bank accounts and safe deposit boxes to hide nearly $10 million in bribes from companies seeking military contracts. The accusations against Major Cockerham are tied to a crisis of corruption inside the behemoth bureaucracy that sustains America’s troops. Pentagon officials are investigating some $6 billion in military contracts, most covering supplies as varied as bottled water, tents and latrines for troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The inquiries have resulted in charges against at least 29 civilians and soldiers, more than 75 other criminal investigations and the suicides of at least two officers. They have prompted the Pentagon, the largest purchasing agency in the world, to overhaul its war-zone procurement system. Much of the scrutiny has focused on the contracting office where Major Cockerham worked at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. New York Times_ 9/24/07 (logon required)

WHO confirms 1,500 cholera cases in Iraq; Baghdad reports its first case

An outbreak of cholera has spread from northern Iraq to Baghdad, infecting at least 1,500 people, the World Health Organization announced Friday. A 25-year-old woman became the first Baghdad resident to be diagnosed with cholera earlier this week, and more cases are likely to be confirmed in the capital, a WHO spokeswoman said. At least 1,055 people have been diagnosed with cholera in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, and more than 24,000 other cases are suspected. At least 10 people have died from cholera in Iraq. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection spread through contaminated water or food, making it easy to prevent in countries where clean water is prevalent. A nationwide shortage of chlorine in Iraq has limited access to potable water and put millions of people at risk to contract the disease, which can remain dormant in some people while quickly killing others. Officials say widespread displacement within Iraq has contributed to cholera's swift spread over the past several weeks. The WHO has sent medical supplies to the area, as well as literature encouraging people to wash their hands and boil their water to kill the cholera bacterium. Washington Post_ 9/21/07

Cholera infects 7,000 in Iraq; Concern it could spreak to Baghdad; Water system blamed

A cholera epidemic in northern Iraq has infected approximately 7,000 people and could reach Baghdad within weeks as the disease spreads through the country's decrepit and unsanitary water system, Iraqi health officials said. Dr. Said Hakki, president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, a relief organization that has responded to the epidemic, said Tuesday health officials at the Red Crescent estimate that cases will begin turning up in Baghdad in late September or early October, when temperatures are especially favorable for the growth of the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, which causes the disease by infecting the intestine. "The water system represents the main problem," he said. "The disease can spread widely through water, and that's a very serious matter." In Baghdad, Iraq's deputy health minister, Dr. Adel Mohsin, said that chlorine imports had been severely curtailed as a result of recent insurgent bombs that had been laced with chlorine, which in concentrated form can be deadly. People contract cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the bacteria, which come from the feces of an infected person. Exposure to raw sewage and contaminated, untreated drinking water can cause epidemics. If treated water is not available, boiling will kill the bacteria. International Herald-Tribune_ 9/12/07

UN says northern Iraq cholera outbreak due to water infrastructure

An outbreak of cholera in northern Iraq that has killed nine people was caused by inadequate water infrastructure, said a U.N. official Monday who has been working with the Iraqi government to investigate the disease. The findings seemed to contradict those announced by the U.S. military on Sunday that the outbreak wasn't caused by contaminated water. "The root cause of the outbreak lies in the inadequacy of the water supply system and deteriorated infrastructure," said Paolo Lembo, the Iraq country director for the U.N. Development Program. Lembo recently returned to Jordan from Iraq and warned of the spread of the gastrointestinal disease, which is typically linked to contaminated water and can cause severe diarrhea and lead to death. Sunday, Col. Glynda Lucas, chief of the military's clinical operations in Iraq, said the cholera outbreak in the northern Sulaimaniyah province appeared not to have been caused by contaminated water and was unlikely to spread to Baghdad. AP/NASDAQ_ 9/3/07

Cholera outbreak in northern Iraq apparently not caused by contaminated water

An outbreak of cholera in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah appears not to been caused by contaminated water and is unlikely to spread to Baghdad, the military said Sunday. There have been 70 confirmed cases of the disease and more than 4,000 reports of people suffering from symptoms like severe diarrhea and vomiting, said Col. Glynda Lucas, chief of the military’s clinical operations in Iraq. Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease that is typically spread by drinking contaminated water and can cause severe diarrhea. In extreme cases, that can cause fatal dehydration. In this case, however, the area water does not seem to be contaminated, Lucas said. “Initial reports from ... personnel on the ground indicate that most of the hospital patients in Sulaimaniyah do not have other people ill who are using the same water source — friends, families and neighbors,” she said. “The risk of cholera spreading to Baghdad is reasonably low." AP/Army Times_ 9/2/07

August, 2007

Cholera spreads in Iraq as health services collapse
Lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation has led to 5,000 people in northern Iraq contracting cholera.  The outbreak is among the most serious signs yet that Iraqi health and social services are breaking down as the number of those living in camps and poor housing increases after people flee their homes.  "The disease is spreading very fast," Dr Juan Abdallah, a senior official in Kurdistan's health ministry, told a UN agency. "It is the first outbreak of its kind here in the past few decades."  Doctors in Sulaimaiyah in Iraqi Kurdistan have appealed for help because of the rapidly increasing number of cases, saying there is a shortage of medicines. Although the city has been less affected by fighting than almost anywhere in Iraq, Unicef says that mains water is only available for two hours a day and many people have dug shallow wells outside their homes.  The Independent_8/31/07

Iraq moves to secure water resources
Iraq has called for a treaty with its neighbors that share the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in a bid to avoid water crisis in the future.  The two great rivers join in Iraq and are its main water resource. Both flow south from Turkey, the Euphrates first winding through Syria while the Tigris passes directly into northern Iraq.  "The problem is growing and we need an agreement. There is speculation that the next regional war will be about water, but more conflict does not achieve anything," Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Rasheed told reporters in the Syrian capital.  Rasheed said the looming danger came from Turkey, which has been damming the Euphrates.  Rasheed said talks with Turkey have started after the US led invasion. But Iraq still lacked information on the scope of Turkish plans upstream and the expansion of cultivated land.  Turkey has repeatedly stated that its neighbors have no right to question what Ankara does with rivers rising within its borders.  Water resources have long been the centre of disputes between Turkey and the downstream countries, especially after the completion of the Ataturk dam in the 1990s. PressTV 8/23/07

Water taps run dry in Baghdad

Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer.  Residents and city officials said large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations.  Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but this one is described by residents as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory. The problem highlights the larger difficulties in a capital beset by violence, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime and too little electricity to keep cool in the sweltering weather more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion.  Time_8/2/07

Japan announces 57.72 billion yen loan to Iraq for water, electricity projects

Japan announced Wednesday it had granted Iraq a 57.72 billion yen (US$489.12 million; €356.84 million) loan to improve the embattled country's water supply and electricity systems.  Of the total, 42.97 billion yen (US$364.14 million; €265.66 million) will be used to improve the water supply systems in both Basra and Hartha city in southern Iraq, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.  The remainder of the loans will be spent on stabilizing the power supply in Kurdistan region, with new machinery and equipment for the substation and distribution systems, the ministry said.  The projects are part of US$3.5 billion (€2.55 billion) in loans that Japan pledged to Iraq during a donor's meeting in 2003. With the latest projects, about 60 percent of the total amount has been allocated to mostly infrastructure-improvement projects, it said.  International Herald Tribune_8/1/07

Major water project completed in Ramadi, Iraq

An Iraqi contractor has completed the $451,000 Kabeer Water Treatment Plant generator installation project in Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, Portal Iraq. The contractor supplied materials, labor and equipment necessary to perform installation of generators, transfer switches, cable and a fuel tank. The work will provide additional power capacity for the nearby Kabeer Water Treatment Plant, which provides clean drinking water to approximately 400,000 residents. MENAFN_ 7/23/07

Iraq water and sewage systems a shambles; cholera among children causing concern

Five cases of cholera have been reported among children in Iraq in the past three weeks, a worrying sign as temperatures rise and the war leaves sewage and sanitation systems a shambles. Cholera, which is spread through bacteria in contaminated water, is easily treatable but can cause rapid dehydration and death if not treated. Cholera pandemics have killed tens of thousands of people worldwide, most recently in South America in the early 1990s. Although the number of cases in Iraq is small and none has been fatal, the emergence of cholera this early in the year is ominous, said Claire Hajaj of UNICEF. In the past, cholera has not usually been seen until July. As the summer heat intensifies, chronic electricity shortages make it difficult to operate pumps at sewage and drinking-water treatment plants, which leads to the use of dirty water. Efforts to repair the infrastructure are hampered by insurgent attacks on municipal workers, who are targeted because they work for the U.S.-backed government. Los Angeles Times/Baltimore Sun_ 6/13/07

Two years after his kidnapping near Baghdad, fate of Jeffrey Ake remains unknown

There will be no fanfare today in LaPorte, Indiana-- no vigil, no news conference, not even a moment of silence -- to mark the second anniversary of a hometown businessman's abduction in Iraq. Jeffrey Ake was seized April 11, 2005, outside Baghdad. He was at a water bottling plant his company was building. The quiet on the anniversary of Ake's kidnapping is a reflection of his wife Lilianna's desire for privacy, said LaPorte Mayor Leigh Morris, a friend of the Akes'. Jeffrey Ake, 48 at the time, was last seen two days after his abduction. He appeared in a grainy video on the Al-Jazeera network, held at gunpoint by hooded men and asking for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. Almost immediately, Lilianna Ake began fielding phone calls from people she is confident were her husband's captors. They asked for money. But a month later, the phone calls ceased. There is no word of Ake's fate. Indianapolis Star_ 4/11/07

Lack of safe water in Iraq
A shortage of safe drinking water in Iraq is threatening to increase diarrhea, a leading killer of children in the country, the United Nations said Thursday.  Violence makes it difficult to protect Iraqi water officials and repair pipes damaged by sabotage.  But U.N. officials partly blamed inadequate funding, both for Iraqi water systems and the world body’s own operations.  A lack of money forced UNICEF to halt its water tanker service this month, which delivered clean water to tens of thousands of people in Baghdad, a U.N. statement said.  The majority of Iraqi families rely on municipal systems that pipe water into their homes, but many mains are damaged and infested with dangerous waterborne diseases that can cause diarrhea, the second-highest cause of child illness and death in Iraq.  Claire Hajaj, a UNICEF official based in Jordan, said UNICEF’s program to assist Iraq with water, sanitation and hygiene was short $30 million because the agency had assumed Iraqis would not need such assistance by now. Some $2 million would be needed to provide water tanker deliveries for the rest of the year. The Iraqi government has acknowledged that water systems will not be able to meet the country’s needs for at least 18 more months, the U.N. statement said. Kansas City Star_3/23/07

Overhead costs smother the U.S. rebuilding of Iraq

Overhead costs have consumed more than half the budget of some reconstruction projects in Iraq, a U.S. government estimate shows, leaving far less money than expected to provide the oil, water and electricity needed to improve the lives of Iraqis. The report, released Tuesday by a federal agency, provides the first official estimate that, in some cases, more money was being spent on things like housing and feeding employees, completing paperwork and providing security than on construction. In some cases, says the report by the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction, the costs have eaten up 55 percent or more of the budget. On similar projects in the United States, such costs generally run to a few percent. The inspector general points to a simple bureaucratic flaw: The United States ordered the contractors and their equipment to Iraq and then let them sit idle for months at a time. The delay between "mobilization," or assembling the teams in Iraq, and the start of actual construction was as long as nine months, the report says.   New York Times/International Herald Tribune_ 10/25/06

Read the full report

Minnesota National Guard troops help Iraqis open water treatment plant

The soldiers last week helped the Iraqi people open a water treatment plant with a reverse osmosis system, and also a city park in the community of Al Batha. The Iraqi people paid for the plant and the troops provided resources and knowledge. The water table in Al Batha is high, and salt rises to the surface, making it undrinkable. Water from the Euphrates River also is undrinkable due to contamination. AP/Milwaukee Star-Tribune_ 10/11/06

Minnesotans rebuild Iraq water facilities
Years of neglect, embargoes, war parched Fertile Crescent

Maj. Jake Kulzer of Minneapolis and other Minnesota National Guard members aim to make the historic lands in southern Iraq better, if not utopian, by helping the region produce a lot more fresh water.   Kulzer and other Minnesota members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, are working on water systems for communities and farmers in the south-central region of Iraq.  He and his colleagues have been in Iraq for five months as part of a deployment of about 2,600 Minnesota Guard troops. Kulzer spoke to reporters Friday via a telephone call arranged by the Minnesota National Guard.  Along with Iraqi engineers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the group has developed and installed a reverse osmosis water treatment plant in the city of Al Batha and installed new pipes that serve 3,000 homes.  St. Paul Pioneer Press_ 8/19/06

Clean water coming to Fallujah

Clean water should flow to 80 percent of Fallujah's homes this fall. Improvements have come, but slower than expected and on a smaller scale than planned. Officials are eagerly looking forward to the completion of a multimillion-dollar water treatment project they say will deliver clean water to 80 percent of Fallujah's homes. AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ 7/11/06

Delivering water to Baghdad residents is a snag

After nearly three years and $45 million, a treatment plant in northern Baghdad is pumping enough drinking water for a quarter of Baghdad's people. But the trick is getting it to them because of losses to broken pipes and scavengers. Officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development are preparing to wrap up work in September after restoring one Saddam Hussein-era plant and building another at the Shark Dijlah water treatment facility, which serves 1.5 million people mostly in eastern Baghdad. Western and Iraqi reconstruction officials have pinned their hopes on U.S.-funded projects like the improvements at the plant to overcome severe shortages of water and poor sewage systems. AP/Houston Chronicle_ 7/9/06

June, 2006

Water purification team keeps Iraqis fighting
With temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit and higher becoming the norm in Iraq, the need for water becomes more apparent daily.  For Iraqi soldiers at Camp Blue Diamond in the city of Ramadi, that necessity is being met by three U.S. Marines and one reverse osmosis water purification system.  Called ROWPU for short, the Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 5 have been pumping out the critical resource here since April, producing between 15,000 and 18,000 gallons of potable water per day.  Military.com_6/22/06

Exploring Mars: a crater where water ran

In early 2004, NASA's Mars strategy of "following the water" paid off handsomely for the rover named Opportunity. Landing in Meridiani Planum, Opportunity immediately found beds of soft sandstones, much altered by acidic water long ago.  NASA's next Mars rover will be the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), due for launch in 2009. In hopes of hitting paydirt once again, NASA has scientists scouting for landing sites that might extend the Martian water story beyond Opportunity's glimpse at Meridiani.

Roughly 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) southwest of Meridiani lies Holden Crater, 154 km (96 mi) wide. Holden and surroundings contain two potential sites where MSL could study ancient water-flow deposits.   Holden's wide floor, shown in a newly released image, has abundant layered sediments, channels, and large piles of debris at canyon mouths. These suggest a long history of deposits by water. And in Eberswalde Crater, just north of Holden, scientists have spotted what is surely the remnant of a river delta.  Space.com_6/22/06

NASA technology aids water purification effort in Iraq

System used on International Space Station helps villagers on Earth

NASA engineers, who are accustomed to making a difference in the lives of astronauts in space, recently had a chance help villagers in Iraq using NASA technology.  Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama volunteered their time to help install and test a water purification system in the northern Iraqi village of Kendala, NASA announced June 14.  Two years ago, the pump for the village's deep-water well failed, leaving residents without access to clean water. The population quickly dwindled from more than 1,000 residents to 150.  The village's plight drew the attention of Concern For Kids, a nonprofit organization based in the U.S. state of Georgia, which has provided aid to Iraq since 1992. Organization officials contacted Robyn Carrasquillo, engineering manager for the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) project at Marshall.  The ECLSS system is designed to recycle air and water on the International Space Station, dramatically reducing the need for frequent, costly supply missions from Earth.  A private Nevada company, Water Security Corporation, designed and manufactured the Concern For Kids filtration and purification system.  Earlier this year, volunteers installed a 2,000-liter water tank in the village and, with the help of U.S. Army Civil Affairs personnel, began trucking in fresh water. But the water needed to be cleaned and modified to maintain healthy iodine levels.  Two problems developed with the water purification unit in Kendala - the new water pump was not put together properly and the iodine bed had dried out during transport. Carrasquillo's team, half a world away, helped with this problem. The engineers at Marshall e-mailed advice and instructions, helping fix the pump and guiding the Iraq field team in re-wetting the iodine bed.  Soon the field team was able to deliver safe, clean drinking water to the Kendala village for the first time in two years. Concern For Kids hopes to provide purification units for other villages. Press Release_6/15/06

Water truck 103's perilous journey in Iraq

A few miles west of Baghdad, a brand-new water truck backed gingerly off a flatbed truck and down a makeshift dirt ramp, completing its 7,000-mile journey from a factory in Texas to a government ministry in Iraq. Since the 2003 invasion, the U.S. government has allocated more than $20 billion to rebuild Iraq. The massive program, which ultimately benefits both the people with nothing and the people with nothing but guns, is actually a huge number of smaller tasks that begin with a decision by leaders in Washington. With the signing of an executive order, a complex chain of events is set in motion that, if all goes as planned, brings things from America to Iraq. This is the story of a tiny piece of that effort -- the 400-mile journey of a brand-new water truck from Umm Qasr, Iraq's main seaport on the Persian Gulf, to the Baghdad Water Directorate west of the capital. It was there that the men with guns were waiting. Washington Post_ 5/16/06

Space-age drinking water system tested in Iraq
The 401st Civil Affaris Battalion in cooperation with the Non Government Organization "Concern For Kids" are field testing a water filtration system and are looking into purchasing them for remote areas of the Dahok Provience in Northern Iraq to get quality water for the residents to drink. A creek running through the small village in northern Iraq is the only natural source of drinking water for the residents. There is no filtration system for the residents, so the water is full of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals used in the heavily agricultural community.  According to John Anderson, who works for a non governmental organization, Concern for Kids, the effects of tainted water can be deadly.  "This village lost 10 children in June 2003, from drinking sewer water out of the stream, because there was no other water," Anderson said.  The NGO, in conjunction with the 401st CA Bn., are testing a space-aged portable water filtering and purification system that was originally designed for NASA, which models after the space shuttle water recycling system.  The portable water system being tested costs just under $10,000 and can be the short term solution for the water problem in the village, according to Capt. Steven Hayden, 401st CA Bn.  "There are about 300 villages in northern Iraq that don’t have potable drinking water," Hayden said. "If you were able to put storage tanks in these villages, next to a creek, someone could come out once a week and fill the tanks up. It would have a phenomenal impact."   Blackanthem_5/6/06

Iraq village gets clean, fresh water

The Iraqi residents of Airport Village, located near Baghdad’s International Airport, can now safely drink the water thanks to the completion of the Airport Village Water Tower and Pipeline project, which was commemorated at a “turn on the valve” ceremony April 15. Al Fulq Ltd. Co., the firm awarded the contract for construction of the project, built the tower and pipeline with the help of village resident workers. It was funded by the Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid program. Coalition Forces coordinated funding for the project at the request of the village leadership, said 1st Lt. Emily Siegert, civil military affairs officer, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The project replaced the old Airport Village water network with an 8-inch pipeline that improved the water pressure and water accessibility for the village. The new water tower, built using technology brought in from the United Arab Emirates, expands the ability of the village to have water during the shortage peak periods of the summer months and has a three-to four-day storage capacity, said Esam Al Askar, managing director and chief executive officer, Al Fulq Ltd. Co. The village, built in the 1970s at the time the Baghdad International Airport was constructed, was originally “built to serve 400 people,” he said. The village is currently home to approximately 2,500 residents. U.S. Department of Defense press release_ 4/19/06

Wife of kidnapped American water engineer Jeffrey Ake breaks yearlong silence and pleads with Iraqi captors for his release

Jeffrey Ake, 48, was in Iraq helping to build a water bottling plant on April 11, 2005, when he was kidnapped from a work site near Baghdad. According to a British Ministry of Defense poll on security and living conditions in Iraq, 71 percent of Iraqis participating in the August 2005 survey said they rarely had "safe, clean water." There have been no public claims of responsibility for the kidnapping. Over the last year, Liliana Ake, other family members, and business associates shunned attention from the news media out of fear for Ake's safety. "Right now it's been the whole year and I think it's time," his wife said. She said she was spurred to speak out by the powerful media campaign that may have helped free kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll. Liliana Ake's statement for her husband's abductors said, "One year ago, Jeff Ake, my husband and father of four, was taken hostage, where he remains today. He was in Iraq making certain that the Iraqi people have fresh, good water to drink." CNN_ 4/11/06

Funds for Iraq water treatment wane, say ministry officials

Unless the Iraq government releases more funds to rehabilitate and maintain water treatment facilities, the Ministry of Municipality and Public Works will not be able to meet the country's potable water needs, say ministry officialshe ministry's 2005 annual report, issued last October, noted that some US $512 million had been allocated to the water sector in 2002. In 2005, however, only $186 million was set aside for the rehabilitation of old water-treatment plants and the construction of new ones. Officials complain that underinvestment, poor management and military conflict over the past 20 years have severely damaged the country's infrastructure, while widespread looting after the US-led invasion in 2003 further weakened the capacity of water treatment facilities. Insurgents have also frequently targeted infrastructure around the country in a bid to destabilise the government, while numerous acts of sabotage have helped undermine reconstruction efforts. IRIN/Reuters Foundation_ 4/9/06

One year later: LaPorte, Indiana, asks 'Where is Jeffrey Ake?'

The 47-year-old father of four hasn't been seen since he appeared disheveled on a video two days after his April 11, 2005 disappearance. The family's pleas for silence have added to the mystique -- and the waning public support. From the get-go, LaPorte residents wanted to be there for Ake and his family. After his abduction, from a water treatment plant outside of Baghdad, the city of 21,000 residents was blanketed with ribbons. Someone even designed an official "Come home safe, Jeff" sign for mass production. As the annicersary of Ake's disappearance approaches, only a handful of public markers remain. People say they still want to be supportive, but don't know how. The Times_ 4/8/06

March, 2006

Six bases in Iraq to produce their own temporary drinking water supplies

Six major U.S. bases in Iraq are expected to be producing their own drinking water by summer, cutting an estimated 20,000 trips by trucks from Iraq’s dangerous roads each year, according to the managers of the water distribution plant at Camp Anaconda. Camp Anaconda is the first base to produce its own drinking water, with Camp Victory expected to produce its own water in April, followed in short order by camps Speicher, TQ, Q’-West and Al Asad, managers said. Since October, the plant at Anaconda has produced more than 20 million bottles of water for the camp and surrounding bases, taking 23 trucks off the road each day, managers said. Camp Anaconda produces its own water by pumping it out of a canal and purifying it through trailer-mounted water purification units, said Maj. Michael Clancy, engineer for the 3rd Corps Support Command at Anaconda. Stars and Stripes_ 3/30/06

Firm failed to protect U.S. troops' water
Halliburton Co. failed to protect the water supply it is paid to purify for U.S. soldiers throughout Iraq, in one instance missing contamination that could have caused "mass sickness or death," an internal company report concluded.  The report, obtained by The Associated Press, said the company failed to assemble and use its own water purification equipment, allowing contaminated water directly from the Euphrates River to be used for washing and laundry at Camp Ar Ramadi in Ramadi, Iraq.  The problems discovered last year at that site - poor training, miscommunication and lax record keeping - occurred at Halliburton's other operations throughout Iraq, the report said.  "Countrywide, all camps suffer to some extent from all or some of the deficiencies noted," Wil Granger, Theatre Water Quality Manager in the war zone for Halliburton's KBR subsidiary, wrote in his May 2005 report.  The company said it has "worked closely with the Army to develop standards and take action to ensure that the water provided in Iraq is safe and of the highest quality possible."  Houston Chronicle_3/16/06


U.S. efforts to complete Iraq water projects fall short

Significant progress cited, but many projects remain
About 60 percent of planned water and sanitation projects in Iraq have not been carried out since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, a U.S. audit said on Thursday.  The report said 49 of 136 planned water- and sanitation-related projects will be completed.  About 300 of 425 planned electricity-related projects have been completed, according to the report by Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.  Among the obstacles were sharply higher spending for security, strategy shifts in response to the changing Iraqi environment and increased spending to sustain programs when Iraqis take over, the report said.  It also blamed administrative expenses that had not been considered in initial planning and "plans made without a clear understanding of actual situational conditions."  The U.S. Congress appropriated $18.4 billion for relief and reconstruction in Iraq in November 2003, allocating the funds among specific infrastructure and governance sectors.  The reconstruction programs have made "significant progress" in developing Iraq's infrastructure but large-scale program changes mean that some efforts will fall short, the report said.  Reuters_1/26/06

Sen. Mark Dayton wants Armed Services Committee hearing into claims Halliburton supplied contaminated water to the U.S. military in Iraq

Dayton, (D-Minn.), after participating in a hearing of the Democratic Policy Committee chaired by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), said he is planning to send a letter in the next few days to Armed Services Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Government Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations asking them to schedule hearings investigating the allegations. A spokesman for Warner said that the Armed Services Committee is working to schedule a hearing on Iraq reconstruction contracting in the coming weeks. The hearing will cover all aspects of the reconstruction efforts, he said. Although, he has not yet seen the letter from Dayton, Coleman has directed staffers for his committee to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations that Halliburton failed to notify military authorities of contaminated water at a U.S. military base in Iraq, said his spokeswoman Andrea Wuebker. Halliburton, a company formerly run by Vice President Cheney, has denied its former workers’ claims, according to the Associated Press. Also, the Marine Corps said that the water records for last year showed no problems. The Hill_ 1/24/06

Halliburton employes: U.S. troops in Iraq exposed to contaminated water

Troops and civilians at a U.S. military base in Iraq were exposed to contaminated water last year and employees for the responsible contractor, Halliburton, couldn't get their company to inform camp residents, according to interviews and internal company documents. Halliburton, the Houston-based company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, disputes the allegations about water problems at Camp Junction City, in Ramadi, even though they were made by its own employees and documented in company e-mails. The Associated Press obtained the documents from Senate Democrats who are holding a public inquiry into the allegations. While bottled water was available for drinking, the contaminated water was used for virtually everything else, including handwashing, laundry, bathing and making coffee, said water expert Ben Carter of Cedar City, Utah. Another former Halliburton employee who worked at the base, Ken May of Louisville, said there were numerous instances of diarrhea and stomach cramps -- problems he also suffered. A spokeswoman for Halliburton said its own inspection found neither contaminated water nor medical evidence to substantiate reports of illnesses at the base. The company now operates its own water treatment plant there, spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said. AP/The Boston Channel_ 1/22/06

Despite violence, south Baghdad residents get first tap water in eight years
Despite insurgent activity, Iraqi workers completed repairs to two water treatment plants in south Baghdad after nearly four months of work. Due to their skill and bravery, an estimated one million Baghdad residents will benefit from the renovations that continued regardless of insurgent attacks.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Gulf Region Central (GRC) provided oversight for the restoration project.  "Mahmoudiya and Latifiya residents in south Baghdad this week had water flowing from their faucets for the first time in nearly eight years," said Alfred Everett, GRC Resident Engineer supporting the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. "That’s what people in those communities are telling us."

Blackanthem Military News _ 1/18/06

French water engineer held hostage in Iraq is found
Bernard Planche was taken hostage in Iraq last month. He was pushed out of a car near a checkpoint in a Baghdad suburb Saturday night, apparently freed by nervous captors, Iraqi police said Sunday. French President Jacques Chirac "is delighted by the happy outcome," the palace said. The president personally gave the news to Planche's daughter, Isabelle, and to his brother, Gilles. Insurgents have kidnapped more than 250 foreigners in the past two years. On April 11, Jeffrey Ake, 47, LaPorte, Indiana, was abducted while working at a water treatment plant in the Baghdad area. His status is unknown. AP/ Indianapolis Star_ 1/9/06

December, 2005

'Army Water' makes debut in Balad, Baghdad

You can call it "Army water" or "No-name water," but whatever you call it, servicemembers here will stay hydrated while keeping soldiers and civilian truckers safer. Bottled water is a mainstay of life in this theater, and the 3rd Corps Support Command has opened a water purification and bottling plant at the massive Balad logistical area. Currently, bottled water - the preferred drink in Iraq - comes in via truck from Kuwait, Jordan or Turkey. Drivers run the risk of hitting improvised explosive devices, car bombs or small arms fire. Bottling the water in Iraq takes that many military and civilian truckers off the road, officials explained. The water tastes fine and is pure. "The water comes from the Euphrates (River) to a canal to our intake pipes," said Army Lt. Col. James G. Hay, the chief of contracting oversight for the 3rd Corps Support Command. There are no labels on the containers, but each bottle is etched with the date and time the water was bottled, Hay said. Officials plan another, even larger plant, in Camp Victory and four others around Iraq, Hay said. American Forces Press Service_ 12/29/05

French foreign minister calls for immediate release of water engineer held hostage in Iraq

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy emphasized that France had no military presence there. “Nothing justifies holding Bernard Planche in captivity,” the minister said in a statement a day after the first public video of the French captive was shown on an Arab satellite channel. Militants yesterday released a video of Planche, who was kidnapped three weeks ago, and denounced the “illegal French presence” in the country, news channel Al-Arabiya reported. Planche, an engineer working for a non-governmental organisation called AACCESS, was kidnapped on December 5 on his way to work at a water plant in Baghdad. Ireland On-line_ 12/29/05

French water engineer is latest westerner kidnapped in Iraq
Bernard Planche was leaving the driveway in his van when he was surrounded by a group of armed men who dragged him from the vehicle and abducted him, the authorities said. A witness told Reuters the kidnappers beat Mr. Planche with a pistol as he screamed for help. He worked for Aaccess, a nongovernmental organization that, according to the police, is involved in a sewage project with the Eastern Baghdad Water Company. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. French foreign ministry officials refused to comment on the kind of work Mr. Planche was doing. In May, Mr. Planche, representing Aaccess, attended a United Nations meeting in Amman, Jordan, about drinking water and sanitation in Iraq, according to minutes of the meeting, which were posted on the Internet. At the time, Aaccess was involved in "two small rehabilitation projects" financed by the United States Army, the minutes said. A cellphone number he provided at the conference rang at the French Embassy in Baghdad, where an official said no one was available to comment on the kidnapping. New York Times_ 12/6/05 (logon required)

November, 2005

U.S. Ambassador Dan Speckhard says Iraq water and other reconstruction projects moving forward
In his first public appearance since his appointment in June, Speckhard, the director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, said hundreds of projects to improve electricity, sewage and other services are complete, with $11.7 billion paid out and a total of $17.5 billion - more than 90 percent of the total funds - committed. He said officials have not publicized them to avoid putting Iraqi workers at risk. Funds are drawing to a close in the $30 billion effort, which has had some successes, but also many failures, leaving Iraqis generally appreciative of American programs but also looking for evidence of the results. At least 412 contractors and other civilian workers have been killed since the 2003 invasion, according to a report by the special inspector general for reconstruction released late last month. Among the successes, Mr. Speckhard named the restoration of electricity to its pre-war levels and 348 water sewage projects complete or under way. New York Times_ 11/13/05 (logon required)

October, 2005

Many Iraq rebuilding projects, including water, may be dropped-U.S. official

Many rebuilding projects for Iraq will be dropped as security costs drain resources and with the growing awareness that more money must be spent to sustain Iraq's existing infrastructure, the top U.S. auditor for Iraq's reconstruction said on Tuesday. In the coming year money needed to operate Iraq's existing health, water, oil and electrical infrastructure and to complete planned reconstruction projects "will outstrip the available revenue," said Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Bowen also said there did not appear to be adequate planning for Iraq's long-term maintenance of its new facilities. It will cost from $650 million to $750 million annually to run the new plants and equipment built largely with U.S. funds, and more for security, salaries and fuel, he said. Reuters_ 10/18/05

Rebels cut water, power in Baghdad

Insurgents sabotaged power lines Friday, plunging the Iraqi capital into darkness and cutting off water supplies on the eve of a landmark vote on a constitution that would define democracy in Iraq. The charter - hammered out after months of bitter negotiations - is supported by a Shiite-Kurdish majority but has split Sunni Arab ranks after last-minute amendments designed to win support among the disaffected minority. The widespread power outage hit soon after sundown, when Muslims break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Water also ran out in homes in some parts of the capital and water pressure waned. AP/ NorthJersey.com_ 10/15/05

Iraq water rebuilding slows as U.S. money for projects dries up

The U.S. government is running out of money for Iraqi reconstruction projects. The higher than expected cost of protecting workers against insurgent attacks — about 25 cents of every reconstruction dollar now pays for security — has sent the cost of projects skyward. The ultimate price of a slowdown in Iraq's reconstruction could be steep. U.S. strategy here is based on the premise that jobs and prosperity will sap the strength of the insurgency and are as important as military successes in defeating terrorists. But there are signs that some of the early momentum is gone, particularly for big infrastructure projects. The Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works initially planned to use U.S. funds for 81 much-needed water and sewage treatment projects across the country, says Humam Misconi, a ministry official. That list has dwindled to 13. Canceled projects include the $50 million project that was supposed to provide potable water to the second-largest city in the Kurdish region, and a $60 million water treatment plant in Babil province, which would have served about 360,000 residents, Misconi says. Some progress has been made, but it is the larger, more expensive projects such as water treatment plants, sewage networks and power grids that are being cut back. USA Today_ 10/9/05

September, 2005

U. S. Builds Water Treatment Plant in Dibis, Iraq 
Most Americans take running water for granted. Not so for some residents near Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk. Before January 2005, they had never had running water.  The Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence didn't start out on a humanitarian mission when it contracted with Environmental Chemical Corporation International to renovate and construct Kirkuk Military Base, also referred to as "K1. "  Officials with Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq set out to supply 40 company, brigade and battalion headquarters facilities and 30 barracks for the new Iraqi army. To garrison the 3,000 soldiers, dining facilities, power generation, wastewater treatment, and physical fitness fields were added to the project. To ensure, a safe, ample water supply, a $1. 2 million reverse-osmosis water-purification unit was written into the contract. Blackanthem_9/29/05

Some Iraq projects, including water, running out of money, U.S. says

The U.S. will halt construction work on some water and power plants in Iraq because it is running out of money for projects, officials said. Security costs have cut into the money available to complete some major infrastructure projects that were started under the $18.4-billion U.S. plan to rebuild Iraq. As a result, the United States is funding only those projects deemed essential by the Iraqi government. Although no overall figures are available, one contractor has stopped work on six of eight water treatment plants to which it was assigned. The slow pace of progress appeared to exasperate both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who compared the situation with the Bush administration's handling of damage from Hurricane Katrina. Los Angeles Times_ 9/8/05 (logon required)

August, 2005

First planning document for Iraq's water sector since 1982 developing
Ministry representatives met to discuss the progress of the Strategy for Water and Land Resources in Iraq.  All participating ministries are collecting data relevant to water and land use, including hydrologic and hydro geologic information, water quality and crop-water requirements. This data will be used to analyze specific interventions and strategy priorities. Portal Iraq_8/15/05

July, 2005

Iraq water plant sabotage adds to supply shortages
Only a month after the sabotage of water pipes in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, a second attack last week has again left thousands without mains water supplies, according to local officials.  An estimated one million people in the districts of al-Ubaidi, al-Khaleej and parts of Sadr City, to the east of Baghdad, and al-Jihad, al-Shurta, to the west of the capital, have been badly affected.   Reuters_7/24/05

U.S. government's Project and Contracting Office rescues Iraq's "Sweet Water Canal"

The Project and Contracting Office (PCO), which is responsible for managing the $18.4 billion gift from American taxpayers to help rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, dispatched its water sector Project And Delivery Team (PDT) to rescue a vanishing source of potable water. This was the third such trip for PCO water specialists to Basrah, Iraq’s second largest city in order to keep the region’s drinking water flowing. Often referred to as the cradle of civilization, the Basrah region is south of the two great rivers in Iraq -- Tigris and Euphrates. Some two million inhabitants call the port city home. The water source for the city of Basrah originates 238 kilometers upstream via a canal that meanders through the desert. This canal, affectionately referred to as the “Sweet Water Canal” (SWC), has been under siege from poor maintenance and improper construction since inception. PCO hired Washington International Inc. to begin the $60 million project to resuscitate and extend the life of the canal for at least another ten years. Black and Veatch is one of the subcontractors that have boots on the ground in Basrah. Together, the two firms expect to repair the breaches that have been sucking the life out of the SWC. Years of poor maintenance, illegal water tapping and the weakening of the concrete lining of the inland waterway have inundated those charged with managing the canal with a sea of problems that can't be handled without some assistance. Press Release_ 7/4/05

Flash paper version

June, 2005

Torrid Baghdad fumes as water lines cut
Two million Baghdadis are without fresh water after officials said insurgents sabotaged one of the main water plants that feed the Iraqi capital.   As temperatures rose above 40 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit), angry and frustrated residents scoured their neighbourhoods looking for broken sub-pipelines where water bubbled out and carrying home cans and pots for drinking and cooking.  Reuters_6/20/05

Postwar Iraq paying heavy environmental price

Iraq's environmental problems - among world's worst - range from a looted nuclear site which needs cleaning up to sabotaged oil pipelines, said Pekka Haavisto, Iraq task force chairman at the United Nations Environmental Programme. Lack of spare parts and Iraq's inability to maintain pollution standards during two previous wars and more than a decade of crushing sanctions have damaged the environment, including the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where most of Iraq's sewage flows untreated. Contaminated sites near the water supply also include a 200 square km (77 sq mile) military industrial complex, torched or looted cement factories and fertilizer plants, of which Iraq was one of the world's largest producers, and oil spills. Reuters_ 6/2/05

May, 2005

Colgate alumna plays part in helping to rebuild Iraq infrastructure

Karen Lee helps rebuild Iraq water infrastructure

When President Bush called on government agencies last year to provide support to the reconstruction effort in Iraq, Karen Lee packed up her liberal arts skills, took a leave from her job, and headed to Baghdad. Her assignment: six months, helping to rebuild the water infrastructure, through the Iraq Project and Contracting Office.  In her new job she would direct the effort to deliver potable drinking water and build sewage systems and workable irrigation systems throughout Iraq. No small task — especially for someone with no experience in engineering. 

Colgate in the News_5/23/05

A different kind of enemy lurks beneath Iraq's parched brown sand: water leaks

Many believe the estimated 500,000 leaks have contributed to Iraq’s high infant mortality rate. Project and Contracting Office (PCO) water program manager Akram Rabadi and others are training Iraqis to repair and maintain the nation's water infrastructure. “Water is a challenging subject for the middle east,” explained Rabadi, a Jordanian by birth. “And it (water) is one of the areas where you can do the most good for people.” So far, 2,000 workers have been trained in five cities, plus Baghdad. By the end of 2005 with all 17 major cities' water employees being trained, it will impact 8.5 – 12.7 million Iraqi citizens. Press Release_ 4/22/05

LaPorte, Indiana shocked, dismayed by kidnapping of native son Ake

Jeffrey Ake had traveled to Iraq at least twice in the past two years, helping put in place equipment to bottle daily essentials such as water and cooking oil. A yellow ribbon was tied around a tree outside Ake's one-story brick, ranch-style home as word of his kidnapping became known, and an American flag fluttered on a pole. AP/Courier-Journal_ 4/14/05

Indiana federal lawmakers doing what they can to help free Jeffrey Ake

Gannett News Service/Indianapolis Star_ 4/14/05

American hostage in Iraq is owner of Indiana water bottling equipment company

U.S. officials in Washington identified the man as Jeffrey Ake after he appeared in a video broadcast by Al Jazeera television, holding up his passport as armed and masked insurgents stood at his side. Ake is the president and owner of Equipment Express in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, according to the company's Web site. The company, contacted by phone, refused to make any comment. Ake's firm makes a complete line of bottling equipment and says its customers range from start-ups to such Fortune 500 companies as Kimberly Clark, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, according to the company site. Ake was seized from the site of a reconstruction project near Baghdad on Monday.  Reuters_ 4/13/05

Millions of dollars said going to waste in Iraq water and other utility projects

Iraqi officials have crippled scores of water, sewage and electrical plants refurbished with U.S. funds by failing to maintain and operate them properly, wasting millions of American taxpayer dollars in the process, according to interviews and documents. Hardest hit has been the effort to rebuild the country's water and sewage systems, a multibillion-dollar task considered among the most crucial components of the effort to improve daily life for Iraqis. Of more than 40 such plants run by the Iraqis, not one is being operated properly, according to Bechtel Group Inc., the contractor at work on the project. Los Angeles Times_ 4/10/05 (logon required)

Water and other projects in troubled $18.4 billion Iraq reconstruction effort to be reevaluated

The State Department is blaming problems on early decisions to hire U.S. firms for major infrastructure projects. In a report to Congress this week, the department says rebuilding officials will cancel several planned water and electricity plants and shift $832 million to focus on immediate job creation and training for Iraqis. The new approach will also place a strong emphasis on spending remaining funds to contract with Iraqi companies, which have experienced fewer problems with insurgents and have lower overhead than U.S. multinational firms. The adjustment, the third such funding change in nine months, is the latest sign of disarray in the effort to help quell the insurgency by improving living standards and providing jobs for Iraqis. Los Angeles Times_ 4/9/05 (logon required)

Two years after the fall of Baghdad, Iraq blighted by poor water and other services
Stagnant water lies on the street in Baghdad's Sadr city and sewage often pours untreated into rivers from which many Iraqis have to drink. Even the so-called treated water or clean water is not actually clean - it is contaminated with sewage water, said Humam Misocni of the public works ministry. The Americans have allocated $18.4 billion dollars for reconstruction in Iraq, but Mr. Misocni says more than 70% of the money his ministry was originally granted has now been reallocated to spending on defence and security. BBC News_ 4/5/05

March, 2005

It's rocket science: Asians, Iraqis to get recycled water

How do you quench someone's thirst when there is plenty of water, but not a drop of it is drinkable? Villagers in Iraq and tsunami victims in Asia will get a taste of NASA's answer as early as this fall — before any astronaut in space does. The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been testing a device intended for the space station that would recycle astronauts' sweat, respiration and even urine into drinking water purer than any found in a tap. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/22/05

Rebuilding Iraq's water system and other projects are a big, slow job: Under constant threat of sabotage, up to 200 U.S. companies are hard at work patching a nation together

A sewage plant rumbles to life outside Baghdad. Drinking water pumps start churning in Basra. But the sweeping changes Iraqis hoped for after the invasion of March 19, 2003, haven't materialized. Contractors work under the constant threat of attack by insurgents, who have killed more than 300 Western workers to date. The 41,450 Iraqis employed on reconstruction projects have also become targets, although no one tracks the number killed. Billed as the largest such effort since the Marshall Plan, Iraq's $18.4 billion reconstruction continues in slow steps, taken under armed guard. San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/20/05

February, 2005

Kirkuk water treatment plant reopens; Provides potable water to more than one million residents

The United States Agency for International Development recently completed a $4.1 million refurbishment of the Kirkuk Unified Water Treatment Plant, benefiting over one million residents of Kirkuk City and its surroundings. Prior to USAID's refurbishment project, which began in January of 2004, the plant's production was approximately 22 million gallons of water per day. Furthermore, the plant did not consistently produce potable water because of system failures and operational deficiencies. Following a year of reengineering, the Kirkuk Water Treatment Plant is capable of delivering 95 million gallons of potable water each day. The plant will permanently employ approximately 100 Iraqis. USAID press release_ 2/10/05

U.S. reviews rebuilding, gives more power to Iraqis

The United States is revising its $18.4 billion Iraq rebuilding plan and in a major policy shift will hand over some contracting power to Iraqi ministries for U.S.-funded work. The changes, which could cut what some U.S. contractors had expected to earn in Iraq, reflect a new drive after Sunday's election to give Iraqis more control over reconstruction, lower the U.S. profile and curb spiraling security costs. Last September, the State Department switched $3.4 billion in U.S. funds from water and power projects to boost security. Construction and engineering giants such as Bechtel, Fluor, Parsons, Perini, Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root and others with prime deals in Iraq, will not make as much as they anticipated. Reuters_ 2/1/05

Saboteurs target Iraq's power and water supplies

A surge in attacks in recent weeks on Iraq's infrastructure, accidents and fires at power plants and bad weather have smashed hopes of improved power and water before Sunday's election, say senior U.S. officials. After Saddam Hussein's ouster in April 2003, the United States promised to overhaul Iraq's dilapidated power and water systems and poured billions of dollars into these projects in the hope it would, among other goals, boost Iraqi confidence in their new political system. Nearly two years on, Iraqis complain the national power grid is off more than it is on and the lack of reliable, clean water has made daily living a challenge for many. In recent weeks, a bomb was dropped in a water manhole, cutting off water to about 40 percent of the capital for several days and power supplies have also been more sporadic. Reuters_ 1/27/05

Clean drinking water to reach Fallujah soon

At present, assessments are being performed at four water purification treatment plants and three water towers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the Fallujah Reconstruction Cell, as well as an Iraq Ministry of Water representative to execute $10.3 million dollars worth of water projects. These projects are targeted at rehabilitating and updating the system that provides drinking water for up to 400,000 residents in the city of Fallujah. MENAFN_ 1/22/05

Water crisis makes life even worse for Baghdadis

Just when the people of Baghdad thought things couldn't get much worse, they did. For the past five days, most of the city -- particularly the western districts -- has been without water.

There has been no explanation for the crisis. Insurgents are suspected of attacking water mains outside the city several days ago, cutting off supplies, but the U.S. military had no immediate information on such an attack. Reuters_ 1/20/05

U.S. spent only small part of $18.4 billion Iraq rebuilding funds; Smaller projects include drinking water

It is being forced to reallocate funding from some projects because of the poor security situation, a new government report shows. According to a copy of the Bush administration's latest quarterly update to Congress on Iraq obtained by Reuters, as of Dec. 29 only $2.2 billion of the funds had actually been spent. The document said it would shift $211 million from longer-range transmission projects to cover more immediate needs such as spare parts, repair, maintenance programs and turbine upgrades. In addition it would use $246 million for "immediate and visible essential services" such as potable water in four cities -- Falluja, Najaf, Samara and Sadr City.  Reuters_ 1/6/05

December, 2004

Iraq says some Falluja residents can go home and government will help compensate for lack of electricity and water

Thousands of Iraqis who fled Falluja to escape fighting last month could begin returning to the Sunni Muslim city on a district-by-district basis, the government said. Falluja has been bombed by U.S. planes and artillery for weeks and there is still regular fighting between rebels and American forces, even in districts that the U.S. military had said were under its control. Each resident will receive $100 upon his return. Those with houses damaged or destroyed will receive $2,000-$10,000. About 200,000 residents fled ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. offensive. Officials said in the areas where residents will be allowed back, explosives have been removed, standing water and sewage has been cleared and repairs have started on essential services. Reuters_ 12/20/04

Bechtel Corp.'s $1.03 billion contract to rebuild water and other projects in Iraq is extended until June, 2005

The contract was due to expire at the end of this month. Bechtel said violence in Iraq prevented it from completing the work on time. San Francisco-based Bechtel won a second, $1.8 billion reconstruction contract for Iraq in January, and that isn't due to expire until the end of 2005. Using both contracts, the firm has been repairing Iraqi bridges, airports, electrical plants and drinking water systems. San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/18/04

U.S. aid chief defends pace of water and other reconstruction in Iraq

A top U.S. aid official acknowledged that Iraqis have reasons to be impatient with the pace of reconstruction since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein, but said $4.3 billion had been earmarked for projects and promised improvement despite the insurgency. Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, detailed several projects under way in Iraq, including construction of 13 water-treatment plants and a major new power station, as well as hundreds of schools, firehouses, clinics and police stations. AP/Boston Globe_ 12/13/04

International Red Cross enters Falluja for the first time since battle; Water and sewer services severely disrupted

Iraqi officials told the Red Cross group "the water treatment facilities and sewage systems had been damaged and are currently not functioning," AFP news agency said a Red Cross official reported. The ICRC says restoring water supplies will be its main priority in Falluja. BBC News_ 12/9/04

Iraq water minister asks North American water leaders for technical and operational help

At a meeting hosted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Iraq's Minister of Municipalities and Public Works Nesreen Mustafa Diddeek Berwari asked leaders from the North American water community to assist her country in rebuilding its water infrastructure. Berwari, who oversees 42,000 Iraqi government employees, told a gathering of 20 water utility experts and industry manufacturers that approximately 40 percent of Iraqis do not have access to safe drinking water and only 10 percent have adequate wastewater services. ''Iraqi engineers are very hungry for information,'' Berwari said. AWWA President Kathryn McCain said the association would facilitate tours of North American water utilities for Iraqi engineers and coordinate the exchange of technical information and training between the association and Iraqi officials. Press Release_ 12/8/04

November, 2004

Dirty water causes acute malnutrition rates among young children in Iraq to nearly double since the war began

The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition that takes in chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government. Washington Post/San Francisco Chronicle_ 11/21/04

Water and soil-borne bacteria leads to rare infections in injured U.S. soldiers in the Middle East and Afghanistan

Although it was not known where the soldiers contracted the infections from the bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii, the Army said the recent surge highlighted a need to improve infection control in military hospitals. Officials said there was no evidence that biochemical agents played a role in spreading the infection. A. baumannii, which is found in water and soil and resistant to many types of antibiotics, surfaces occasionally in hospitals, often spread among patients in intensive care units. The infection was also found in soldiers with traumatic injuries to their arms, legs and extremities during the Vietnam War. Reuters_ 11/18/04

Falluja residents desperate for food, water, aid

No food. No water. No help. As fierce fighting casts a pall of smoke over the rubble-strewn Iraqi city of Falluja, thousands of Iraqi families remain cut off from desperately needed supplies. Up to half Falluja's 300,000 people fled during daily air strikes in the countdown to the assault, but thousands remain trapped as fighting rages around them.  Reuters_ 11/14/04

Aid agencies call Falluja a 'big disaster' and seek U.S. and Iraqi government permission to deliver, water, food and medicine

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign agencies including the Red Cross and UNICEF, said it asked U.S. forces and Iraq's interim government to let them deliver relief goods to Falluja and establish medics there. But it said it had received no reply. Reuters_ 11/12/04

UK contractors working on water and other projects in Iraq bogged down by violence

British firms working to rebuild Iraq have become bogged down by violence as militants step up their campaign to distract U.S. and Iraqi forces from their assault on Falluja. Contractors say they have been hemmed into their compounds by ambushes and kidnappings, and security experts see little improvement before planned elections in January. Andy Bearpark, who worked until July as the senior UK official in the Coalition Provisional Authority, the body that preceded Iraq's interim government, said "there's no doubt the big power stations and water purification and transmission projects are the most susceptible to delay."  Reuters_ 11/10/04

October, 2004

Parsons engineering, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), select Bentley Systems, Inc. software to modernize Baghdad water supply

Overall, an anticipated 11.8 million Iraqis will benefit from USAID's $600 million in water and sanitation projects. The WaterGEMS software, from Bentley's Haestad Methods product line, will analyze the distribution and transmission systems, and establish gross supply and demand estimates. Later, WaterGEMS will identify system improvements required to expand water coverage to nearby rural areas. Press Release/Business Wire_ 10/27/04

Some Iraqi reconstruction, like water and sewage projects, go unsung

In the Baghdad suburb of Zafaraniya, engineers with the US First Cavalry division have managed and financed a fundamental project. A network of new sewage pipes is nearly complete - mains drainage for the first time for around twenty thousand people who previously had only septic tanks that overflowed regularly into the street. And in Jumhuriya, a very poor district of the southern city Basra where pools of sewage lie in the street around the stalls of the main local market, the G5 military/civil liaison section of the British army has selected contractors to install pumps to take the foul water away. BBC News_ 10/25/04

Top Army Corps of Engineers official calls for Halliburton inquiry

The Corps' top civilian contracting official charges that the Army granted the Halliburton Company large contracts for work in Iraq and the Balkans without following rules designed to ensure competition and fair prices to the government. Bunnatine H. Greenhouse has called for a high-level investigation of what she described as threats to the "integrity of the federal contracting program." Her accusations offer the first extended account of arguments that roiled inside the military bureaucracy over contracts with the company. New York Times_ 10/25/04 (logon required)

Iraq allocates $1.4 billion from U.S. aid for 16 big water projects nationwide

The plan concentrated on the implementation of 16 central water projects besides installing 70 water complexes 1,000,000 gallon capacity a day in different parts of Iraq. Most of these projects will be carried out within two years until 2006. MENAFN_ 10/3/04

Camp Lejeune Marine unit verifies restored water and power in Iraqi village

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, conducted a civil affairs mission in a northern village of Al Majarrah, Iraq, Oct. 3, 2004. The sheik of the village of Al Majarrah in northern Iraq verified to Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment that water and electricity were restored. A $39,000 generator was purchased for the town several months ago by 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, the St. Louis, Mo.-based reserve unit replaced by 2/10 in September. The generator also powers the village's potable water pumping station. The villagers never had potable water, and pollution has plagued Lake Habbiniyah, a nearby lake. Press Release_ 10/3/04

42 killed in Baghdad at opening of water-pumping station that was sign of hope that water treatment is improving

Until this summer, most of Baghdad's wastewater was being dumped directly into the Tigris River, the main water supply fopr the capital's 4.7 million people. Now, after 12 years without sewage treatment, the capital's plants will be soon be in operation — a big step toward addressing health problems caused by contaminated water. At least 42 people were massacred Thursday at the opening of a water-pumping station. The station was a sign of hope that life in Baghdad was improving. USA Today_ 10/1/04

Bush administration presses wealthy countries for $3.5 billion for Iraq water and power projects

The money is to replace American reconstruction funds diverted to Iraq security and job creation, administration officials said. The drive comes ahead of a meeting of international donors, scheduled for Tokyo on Oct. 13-14, to take stock of what some acknowledge to have been a disappointing effort to raise money in Europe and the Arab world to rebuild Iraq. New York Times_ 10/1/04 (logon required)

September, 2004

Iraq Health Ministry reports 60 in town south of Baghdad contract hepatitis E

Ni'ama Saeed, head of the ministry's general health department, blamed contaminated water and the absence of a regular sewage system for the outbreak around Mahmoudiyah, 25 miles south of Baghdad. Officials were distributing water sanitation pills to residents, Saeed said. Hepatitis E is an acute infection of the liver with symptoms such as high fever and jaundice and is spread via contaminated drinking water and food. In most cases, patients recover. But there is some research that suggests the virus can be fatal to pregnant women. AP/Newsday_ 9/24/04

Iraqis vexed at plan to shift water, sewage and other rebuilding funds to security

Iraqi officials in charge of rebuilding their country's shattered and decrepit infrastructure are warning that the Bush administration's plan to divert $3.46 billionto security could leave many people without the crucial services that generally form the backbone of a stable and functioning democracy. The move comes as a grievous disappointment to Iraqi officials who had already seen the billions once promised them tied up for months by U.S. regulations and planning committees, consumed by administrative overhead and set aside for the enormous costs of ensuring safety for the workers and engineers who actually will build the new sewers, water plants and electrical generators. Of the $18.4 billion that Congress approved last fall for Iraq's reconstruction, only about $1 billion has been spent so far. New York Times/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/21/04

Bush, in shift, taps into $25 billion Iraq emergency fund prepare for major fall troop rotation and intense fighting

The decision follows last week's announcement that President Bush plans to divert nearly $3.5 billion from Iraqi water, power and other reconstruction projects to improve security. The White House had initially asserted it would not need additional war funding until January or February, 2005 -- well after the November presidential election. Reuters_ 9/21/04

Bi-partisan Senators sound alarm on delays in water and other Iraq reconstruction

Senate Republicans and Democrats denounced the Bush administration's slow progress in rebuilding Iraq, saying the risks of failure are great if it doesn't act with greater urgency. "It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., referring to figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent. Foreign Relations Committee members vented their frustrations at a hearing where the State Department explained its request to divert $3.46 billion in reconstruction funds to security and economic development. The money was part of the $18.4 billion approved by Congress last year mostly for public works projects. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/15/04

Bush to shift Iraq water funds to boost security

Faced with mounting violence in Iraq, the Bush administration plans today to propose shifting $3.46 billion from Iraqi water, power and other reconstruction projects to improve security, boost oil output and prepare for elections scheduled for January. Congressional sources briefed on the plan said it cleared the way for President George W. Bush to forgive 95 percent of Iraq's prewar debts to the United States. Those bilateral debts total about $4 billion. Reuters_ 9/13/04

Iraq interim government to ask donor nations for an extra $3.4 billion to restore water and power

Iraqi planning minister Mehdi Hafedh said his government would ask for the additional funds at a donors' conference in Tokyo next month. Mr Hafedh said the money would plug a gap caused by a US decision to redirect $3.4 billion of the $18.4 billion reconstruction budget to security efforts. Attacks by Iraqi insurgents, many of them directed at foreign contractors hired to fix the country's shattered infrastructure, have drastically slowed the reconstruction effort. BBC News_ 9/13/04

UK's Amec looks to £9 million profit next year from Iraq water reconstruction

The engineering group says it employs 5,000 locals in Iraq, has steered clear of the troubles in Najaf and is progressing with repairing water mains and treatment centres in other parts of the country. Amec has won three big reconstruction contracts with Fluor worth up to $1.5 billion (£840 million), covering water and power generation.  The Guardian_ 9/3/04

Secretary of State Colin Powell defends US plans to shift billions of dollars in Iraq aid from water and other reconstruction projects to security
Powell said he believed US lawmakers could be convinced to support a recommendation from US ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte to re-programme 3.37 billion of an 18.4-billion-dollar aid package to meet security needs. However, he stressed that a review of Negroponte’s recommendation, submitted last week, was still underway and that no decision had been made on the actual amount US President George W Bush’s administration would ask to be moved. AFP/Pakistan Daily Times_ 9/3/04


August, 2004

U.S. may shift $3.3 billion Iraq water, sewer and other reconstruction funds to security
The proposal by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte reflected the realization that without better security in the nation torn by an anti-U.S. insurgency, long-term rebuilding is impossible, a U.S. official said. Among other things, Negroponte proposed spending about $1.8 billion now earmarked for water, sewage and electricity to expand the Iraqi police, border patrol and national guard and increase the number of border posts, he said. Reuters_ 8/30/04

U.S. State Department finishes intensive review of $18.4 billion in U.S. construction aid to Iraq, including water projects, and may shift focus to smaller-scale projects
Officials declined public comment on the review, a draft of which is being circulated among U.S. government agencies. But they said some hard decisions had been made in a bid to speed up the pace of rebuilding Iraq. Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the State Department, Defense Department and a handful of other U.S. government agencies have been haggling for months over how best to speed up the reconstruction effort. Any major changes in how the money will be spent must be cleared by Congress, which could take months, especially in such a partisan, presidential election year.  Reuters_ 8/25/04

Corps of Engineers General: Iraq rebuilding of water, sewage and other projects to quicken despite violence

General Thomas Bostick, in charge of implementing projects paid for from $18.4 billion of U.S. money slated for Iraq, told Reuters clashes had caused only delays in the worst trouble spots.

Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division, said work was continuing at the vast majority of about 90 project sites across the country. He said he was optimistic that tangible signs of faster reconstruction work over the coming months, including an increase in the number of project sites to 900 from about 90, would help win support. Reuters_ 8/15/04

July, 2004

Marines of the 24th Expeditionary Unit deliver water, friendship to Iraqi residents
The Marines who arrived at Forward Operating Base Kalsu last week make meeting their neighbors and offering to help the first order of business. Marines on patrol delivered water to residents who needed it. "We would get out and introduce ourselves to the Iraqis living there and offer them water," said Maj. Thomas O. Mayberry, a native of Leawood, Kansas and a Marine of 16 years. "Some would take it, others wouldn't." Speaking through a Marine translator, one resident declared that "all we want is water, power, and relaxation." Marine press release_ 7/30/04

Big construction vs little ones: State Department and Pentagon differ on best approach to bring water and other services to Iraq
The State Department is reviewing $18.4 billion set aside by Congress to rebuild Iraq and is looking, among other issues, at whether big construction projects touted by the Pentagon are the best vehicle for job creation and if smaller ones might possibly be more efficient in the short term. But one official said the State Department was having problems looking at the "big picture" of these design-build projects which in years to come would have a major impact on Iraq and lead to many more jobs than smaller projects. Reuters_ 7/28/04

Rising security and administrative costs for Western contractors force Iraq to trim water projects

Overhead costs are cutting into the billions of dollars set aside for some 90 planned water projects, allowing them to supply only half the potable water originally expected, Iraqi officials say. Scaling back the projects by that much would vastly reduce the benefits for the citizens of a country that already meets no more than 60 to 80 percent of the demand for water on a given day, depending on the region. The Iraqi government estimates may also have wider repercussions, because they provide the first concrete measure of how the continuing violence in Iraq could affect the $18.4 billion reconstruction program approved by Congress last fall. Over all, about $4.3 billion was set aside for water and public works, of which about $2.8 billion has been released so far. New York Times_ 7/26/04

Rebuilding Iraq, a well at a time
Across the hardscrabble Iraqi countryside, dozens of modest construction initiatives, many so tiny and inexpensive that they could be called microprojects, are generating at least a taste of the good will that Congress envisioned when it approved billions of dollars for grandiose rebuilding plans that have mostly been delayed. Typical of the new approach is the man digging a well in Khazna, a Syrian Kurd subcontractor. That project will cost the United States Army just $35,000 and affect no more than a couple of hundred lives in a dusty village that has never had its own well.  New York Times_ 7/20/04

Michigan start-up to bottle water for U.S. military in the Mideast

Premier Manufacturing has a $30 million military contract and owner Marva J. Morris said she has ordered $3 million worth of equipment from a Japan-based manufacturer. Premier expects to produce 3 million bottles of water per week in partnership with Shay Water Co. in Saginaw. Shay will clean the bottles, fill them with purified Bay City, Michigan municipal water, cap the bottles and ship them. Morris described Premier Manufacturing as a second-tier supplier, which means a different company secured the original bottled water contract. She declined to name that company but Clifford C. VanDyke, president of the Bay County Growth Alliance and vice chairman of the Monitor Township Downtown Development Authority, said the contract is tied to Halliburton Co., the general contractor for the rebuilding of post-war Iraq. Bay City Times_ 7/12/04 (logon required)

Languid Tigris Waters Mask Iraq's Pollution Menace

Described in legend as flowing from a source near the Garden of Eden, the Tigris is now choking with modern-day pollution that researchers say puts millions of Iraqis at risk. "Basically, it's an open sewer," said Anna Bachmann, an independent U.S. researcher who began sampling water for testing on Sunday. "Everything and anything is getting in the river."  Reuters _7/11/04

Florida civilian water worker killed in Iraq
Joseph Arguelles, 44, of Springfield, Florida was killed by small-arms fire when the transport plane in which he was a passenger was hit during take off from Baghdad International Airport. Arguelles worked for Readiness Management Services, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls Inc., based in Milwaukee, Wis. He was maintaining electric power generators used to run water-pumping stations in Iraq's capital city. AP/Tallahassee Democrat_ 6/30/04

Australian aid restoring water to Iraq
In northern Iraq, 48,000 children have access to clean water and toilets because of work done by AusAid, using a $1.2 million grant from the Australian Government. Until AusAid and World Vision moved in, students at the Al Nasser Intermediate School for Boys were unable to use the toilets. Herald Sun_ 6/30/04

A village's water supply vs. fear: What is the future of Iraq?
The U.S. Marines' Easy Company spent $20,000 on "civil affairs" projects in one tiny hamlet outside Falluja - more than most of the inhabitants could hope to see in a lifetime. Yet just a few days before, they were attacked within sight of the village. BBC News_ 6/29/04

Iraq government exercising authority over water and other areas before the official transfer of sovereignty
Walid Saleh, planning director for the Water Resources Ministry, said his ministry used to be controlled by a team of six American water experts. Now, Mr. Saleh said, these advisers have become "consultants." "They work for us," Mr. Saleh explained. "They are very good technicians and they give us expertise. But we make the decisions."  New York Times_ 6/13/04 (logon required)

Jobs, fresh water to flow to Iraqi village thanks to Marines, local government
Supporting coalition efforts to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure, Marines award contract and work to bring clean drinking water to a village near here. Project goes beyond just providing clean drinking water. It will also employ many local Iraqis.  Press Release_ 6/6/04

140 Japanese soldiers return from Iraq in first rotation providing reconstruction aid
The soldiers were based in the Shiite city of Samawa, some 270 kilometers (170 miles) south of Baghdad, where they provided medical services, rebuilt roads and bridges and supplied fresh water. The total number of Japanese ground forces in Iraq currently stands at about 500. There have been no casualties. AFP/SpaceWar_ 5/31/04

Iraq asks Syria and Turkey to increase the water flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
The Ataturk Dam in Turkey and Syrian water projects are hindering adequate water supplies, officials said in sideline discussions during the first international water management conference in Jordan. The officials added that, while supplies of fresh water were improving, it might take three years for all Iraqis to have access to safe water. BBC News_ 5/31/04

U.S. hopes to woo wary Iraqis with small projects, including local water improvements
Retired Adm. David Nash, who is in charge of U.S.-funded contracts to rebuild Iraq, said his office had recently given out more than $130 million for projects ranging from a children's playground in Mosul to sewage improvements in Baghdad. More funding is on the way. In March, Nash's Program Management Office awarded $5.1 billion in contracts for major rebuilding but it will be months before Iraqis see real results from these projects, which focus on things like electricity and water. Reuters_ 5/24/04

Democrats want more oversight of water and other Iraq contracts
Democratic lawmakers complained some companies given deals to manage billions of dollars of Iraqi contracts had a conflict of interest and urged the Pentagon to do its own oversight work. A report by congressional Democrats said some companies, such as California-based Parsons and CH2M Hill of Colorado, had major business deals with contractors they were charged with overseeing. Reuters_ 5/18/04

World Vision and Australian Government help bring clean water and sanitary toilets to 48,000 children in northern Iraqi children
World Vision has rehabilitated the water and sanitation systems in 74 schools in northern Iraq, utilising funding from the Australian Agency for International Development. Despite an insecure environment, existing septic systems, water tanks and toilets have been rehabilitated and new ones installed. Press Release/Reuters Foundation_ 5/12/04

Bremer hands authority to Iraqi ministries, including water program, as occupation authority readies to depart
U.S. occupation chief L. Paul Bremer turned over the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources to its Iraqi minister, saying the office was ready to govern itself. Some U.S. advisers will remain on the ministry staff. The ministry's 2004 budget is $150 million, in comparison with just $1 million under Saddam, said Minister Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid. AP/Boston Globe_ 5/10/04

Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources takes sovereignty from U.S.
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Administrator Ambassador L. Paul Bremer congratulated the Iraqi Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Abdul Latif, for his Ministry’s important advance on the road to sovereignty. The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources was one of the first ministries along with those of health, education and public works announced by Ambassador Bremer last month as having developed short and long-term strategic plans, a budget and an administrative reorganization. Fundamental management systems have been put in place and a system of checks and balances has been implemented to deter and root out corruption. Press Release 5/10/04

Fighting, sewers, key to U.S. hopes in Baghdad
The U.S. 1st Cavalry has two priorities as it takes over military command of Baghdad -- killing insurgents and fixing sewers. Brig. Gen. Jeff Hammond, assistant commander of the newly arrived division, says both are necessary if the United States is to fulfil its ambition of rebuilding Iraq. Reuters_ 5/3/04

April, 2004
AP Exclusive: Ten companies with billions of dollars in U.S. contracts for Iraq reconstruction, including rebuilding the water system, have paid more than $300 million in penalties since 2000 to resolve allegations of bid rigging, fraud, delivery of faulty military parts and environmental damage
The United States is paying more than $780 million to one British firm, AMEC, that was convicted of fraud on three federal construction projects and banned from U.S. government work during 2002, according to an Associated Press review of government documents. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/26/04

Engineering giant Amec is signing up at least two more British companies to the Iraq reconstruction effort as it prepares to send in more staff and kick-start the drive to revive the country's water industry
Amec has already brought consultants Mott McDonald on board as it begins work on two multi-million-dollar contracts to bring Iraq's water and waste industry up to scratch following years of under-investment. Evening Standard_ 4/26/04

Gulfport, Mississippi native keeps water flowing to the Marines in Iraq
When civilian worker Thomas Stafford arrived at Camp Fallujah several months ago, the water plant was operated by the Iraqi crew who ran it before the war. As hostilities began, they were threatened by unknown men wearing hoods and quit. South Mississippi Sun-Herald_ 4/13/04

BBC analysis of Iraq water reconstruction: None of Baghdad's sewage plants are operating and about half of Iraq's waste water flows untreated into the country's streams and rivers
Water treatment facilities are currently operating at about 65% of their capacity, due to years of neglect, power cuts and post-war looting. BBC News 4/7/04

March, 2004

U.S. government calls for donations of lab equipment to help Iraq water
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has been asked by the U.S government to help obtain contributions of laboratory equipment from suppliers in the United States. The equipment will be used in drinking water treatment plant laboratories in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq, where it will assist U.S. military personnel and local water treatment technicians in upgrading drinking water treatment and delivery systems. Press Release 3/31/04

Sticking Iraq's utilities back together
Forget the big issues, it is contaminated water, power-outs and open sewers which make ordinary Iraqis' lives a misery. BBC News 3/23/04
U.S. awards $1.1 billion Iraq water and sewage contracts to a joint venture of Fluor and Britain's Amec
Projects includ building and repairing water distribution and treatment systems, municipal sewage collection and treatment and solid-waste management, the U.S. Defense Department said late.  Reuters 3/24/04

Six civilians working on Iraq water projects killed
Drive-by gunmen killed two Europeans working on a water project south of the Iraqi capital yesterday, bringing to six the number of foreign humanitarian workers fatally shot in Iraq over the past two days. In a similar attack a day earlier, four American missionaries also working on a water project in the northern city of Mosul were killed. AP/Newsday 3/17/04

U.S. gives $600 million Iraq water contract to Washington International Inc./Black & Veatch The Pentagon said on Thursday it awarded two prime construction contracts in Iraq to U.S. and British companies to rebuild the country's shattered power and water sectors. Washington International Inc./Black & Veatch, a joint venture, was awarded a contract with a ceiling of $600 million to rebuild the water sector in Iraq. Reuters 3/11/04

British, U.S. firms get new Iraq deals
The Pentagon on Wednesday named a new group of seven U.S. and British contract winners to manage the rebuilding of Iraq, kicking off a fresh phase of U.S.-funded reconstruction plans. CH2M Hill/Parsons, a joint venture between CH2M Hill of Englewood, Colorado, and Parsons Water Infrastructure Inc. of Pasadena, California, won a $28.5 million deal to oversee public works and water sector work. Reuters 3/10/04

Iraqi experts ineligible to purify polluted water systems
With nearly 40 years of civil engineering service under his belt, Sabah Al-Ani is among Iraq’s top experts in water treatment. But he's locked him of the reconstruction process. Washington Post/Arbiter Online 3/1/04

February, 2004

Marshes a vengeful Hussein drained stir again. Can 5,000-year-old way of life come back too? It depends on water quality. NY Times 2/21/04
U.S.-Spanish consortium of CH2M Hill and Union Fenoza subsidiary wins $12.75 million Iraqi dam contract.
They'll rebuild the Haditha Dam in northeast Iraq. Forbes/Reuters 2/11/04

January, 2004

Feature: The Tigris River, once the River of Life in Iraq, is dying.  Los Angeles Times 1/25/04

Business is booming in southern Iraq city of Basra. British officials say 80% of the population has clean drinking water and a third of the city's sewers have been rehabilitated. Arab Times 1/21/04

Sheik welcomes Japanese troops to southern Iraq. They'll work on improving the water system. Daily Yomiuri 1/18/04

U.S. opens bidding on $5 billion in new contracts to rebuild Iraq, including water projects. Program is part of $18.6 billion appropriated by Congress that bars nations who opposed the war. Reuters 1/7/04

Iraq contract bid synopsis. Search Iraq water. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1/7/04

Bechtel receives its second big U.S. government contract to help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, including water systems. Firm will partner with Parsons Corp. and Home Engineering Services on the $1.8 billion contract. Reuters 1/6/04

December, 2003

U.S. bureaucratic squabble over construction contracts holds up $18.6 billion Iraq reconstruction package. Water and other public works projects tied up. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 12/21/03

The American Water Works Association gives the Baghdad Water Authority thousands of dollars in DVDs, books, manuals, journals and other resources to assist water engineers and operators working to restore Iraq's water


Press release 12/16/03 

Engineers Work to Keep Clean Water Flowing to Iraqis. DC Military News 12/5/03

November, 2003

Australian aid group quits Iraq after rocket attack. Australian CARE had $25 million water and sewage repair contract.  Reuters 11/24/03

Water, electricity key to peace in southern Iraq. In Basra, running water is available 24 hours a day.  AP/Yahoo 11/4/03

October, 2003

A private French aid agency that is helping repair Iraqi water plants says it will stay despite attacks on Red Cross and others.  AFP/Expatica 10/29/03

Two Iraqi water engineers on Corps of Engineers-sponsored tour of U.S. water facilities. Learning how to rebuild.  Mountain Democrat   10/29/03

Foreign firms see quick profits in Iraq. Main problem is security, says water treatment executive from U.S. Filter.  Reuters 10/23/03

New agency to handle reconstruction spending in Iraq, including water resources. Operation to be run by World Bank and U.N.  NY Times/San Francisco Chronicle 10/20/03

Japan to send non-combat troops to Iraq to help with water and other reconstruction, official says.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 10/19/03The 101st Airborne Division turns on newly renovated pumps at a water station in Iraq.  AP/WTVF 10/13/03

One engineer's battle: clean water for Baghdad.  Christian Science Monitor 10/9/03

September, 2003

Details for rebuilding Iraq. Breakdown includes water spending. New York Times

Connecticut national guardsmen bring public water supply to northern Iraq village.  Norwich Bulletin

Iraq's public works minister says water system needs $8 billion.  Reuters

U.S. money for Iraq includes $1 billion for water projects. Other details.  AP Exclusive/San Francisco Chronicle 

Transcript of comments Monday on Iraq water and electricity by Pres. Bush and Iraqi ministers.  White House Press Office/U.S. Newswire

Bremer urges Senate to approve $87 billion for Iraq. Total includes $3.7 billion for water treatment and other public works.  AP/Washington Post

Army's 101st Division repairing water pumping system for 325,000 in northern Iraq. University of Tennessee fans take note.  Leaf Chronicle

World Bank, International Monetary Fund gearing up to help restructure Iraq, including water.  AFP/Daily Times

Turkey begins utility service to Iraq. Electricity first and then water.  ZAMAN DAILY   

Four German post-disaster experts are headed to Iraq to help repair the water system.  Xinhua

USAID seeking water and sanitation experts to work in Iraq.  Job Board

Iraq bomb attack forces UK water engineer and his team to head for home. icBerkshire

Iraq wants to increase its share of water from the Tigris and Euphrates. Negotiating with Syria and Turkey.  MSNBC

USAID alerts firms to new construction contracts in Iraq. "Full and open competition" includes drinking water systems.  Reuters

U.S. Army Engineers in Iraq are rebuilding water mains and a treatment plant. Many area residents only could get drinking water straight from the Tigris River.

Aid donors meeting on ways to funnel help to Iraq without U.S./British involvement. Clean water estimate is $16 billion over four years. Reuters

Iraq rebuilding plan can boost South African firms. Water and other projects offer "chance of a lifetime," official says.   Xinhua

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