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Tuesday December 23, 2003

Kiwi Soldiers bring water to 200,000 in IRAQOver 200,000 people outside Basrah, in southern Iraq, will have fresh drinking water later this month for the first time ever - thanks to the work of a group of soldiers from New Zealand.

The soldiers, from Linton’s 2 Engineer Regiment, are working alongside the British 77 Armoured Engineer Squadron, and have been overseeing the construction of a reverse osmosis plant in the village of Al Tannumah.

The project, which began in mid-October, has cost over $190,000, funded by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).

Local company ZAMZAM Water Treatment Systems carried out most of the work, though the project was run and managed by the New Zealand soldiers.

The water used in the plant comes straight from the Shatt al-Arab, the major river which runs through the city of Basrah.

ZAMZAM will now train a management team from the Basrah Water Authority (BWA), who will operate the plant. They will also distribute the clean drinking water to surrounding areas by tanker truck.

The Kiwi engineers have also been installing water tanks at schools throughout Basrah so local children can have regular access to fresh water.

The reverse osmosis plant is one of eight donated to the Al Basrah region by the Kuwaiti government to support the reconstruction of Iraq.

Lieutenant Andrew Mercer, from New Plymouth, said the plant would make a huge difference to the lives of people living in the area.

“This will be the first time in their lives that these people have access to clean, fresh drinking water,” he said.

“The reverse osmosis plant at Al Tannumah is only part of a much larger scheme to re-supply the Al-Basrah region with clean drinking water through widespread production and an effective distribution network.

“This has been a major project to manage, but it will make a big difference to the people living nearby,” he added.


Written by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Taylor, New Zealand Senior National Officer, Iraq.

For further information please contact Wing Commander John Seward, Defence Press Officer, Ph: (04) 4960299

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