Soldiers, KBR continue efforts to end water shortage

Story and photos by Spc. Michael V. Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Q-WEST, Iraq — In the hot summer months, seasonal trends at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq, and the surrounding areas make water a commodity and water conservation a necessity to prevent depletion of the area’s water reserves.

In an effort to assist in this important task, service members are limited to roughly 15 gallons of water per day.

Local nationals share water lines with Q-West to irrigate their crops during the planting and growing seasons, and have been for roughly nine years. Its occupants are accustomed to the trend and the associated decrease in water pressure.

“A lot of the locals from the surrounding villages have utilized this time frame to prepare their crops and their irrigation fields by using taps that have been placed throughout the line,” said Capt. James Hatcher Jr., water operations officer, 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms. “This has decreased the water pressure that comes to the (COL).”

An ongoing effort by Army units and Kellogg, Brown and Root, Inc. contractors—to increase the amount of water distributed to the lakes by boosting the water pressure closer to the COL—means mitigating pressure loss caused by use of the taps.

As cooler weather sets in and planting gives way to harvesting, the taps are turned off, said Hatcher. This increases the water pressure on base and allows more water to reach Q-West, making it possible to fill the lakes and lift the water restrictions, he said.

The lake water is cleaned and distributed as potable and non-potable water for use on the COL. That water is also used by the water purification plant to make bottled drinking water for the service members and civilians stationed on Q-West.

KBR personnel and Soldiers of the Mayor Cell’s water team are planning and carrying out missions to increase the water-flow pressure to Q-West, said Maj. Roger Jackson, the 16th Sustainment Brigade’s engineering and construction officer in charge.

They have worked with local officials and set an agreement on which hours the taps can be used and by whom, said Jackson.

The work these groups accomplish now will ease the transition for service members during the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq during the coming months, Hatcher said.

“If we can fix this now, we can pass on this knowledge to get water flowing onto the (COL) continuously, without issues of restricting water,” said Hatcher.


news photo
Cutline: Soldiers set over 1000 feet of pipe line connecting two pump houses and increasing the water pressure flow to Q-West.