Brian McCarthy, commander, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Hussein Jabor, mayor of Al Muhawil, listen to Numan Dahr describe the plant”s capabilities. Source: Army News Service

The Army News Service (www4.army.mil) reports a new water treatment plant opened in Al Muhawil muhallah, a town located about 54 miles south of Baghdad. The plant, which was constructed through a partnership between Iraqi civilians and military personnel, will pump one million cubic liters of water per day to serve 20,000 residents.

According to the Army News Service, the water treatment plant will be particularly helpful to local area farmers, who will be able to tap into it as a well source to help foster a healthy local agricultural industry.

Still, many residents of Baghdad”s suburbs are facing serious water shortages due to poor infrastructure, leaking pipes, and wastage, according to a report by Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN, www.irinnews.org), a project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Water wastage in the capital, along with bad infrastructure, has increased,” says Saleh Ra”ad, a senior official at the Ministry of Water Resources, in the IRIN report. “Now Iraqis are suffering the consequences and have only a few hours of water daily.”

Nearly half a million people have been affected by the scarcity, notes IRIN. In some areas, water is available for only a few hours at night and for less than two hours during the day in other areas.

In an effort to combat the situation, IRIN says nearly 300 water tanks have been distributed by the government and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in various areas of the capital. In addition, IRIN reports there are a number of new water plant projects under development that are expected to cover 40 percent of Baghdad’s water supply.

[Items attributed to IRIN do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.]