Zaidon facility to provide clean water to thousands of Iraqis
August 3, 2009
BAGHDAD - Clean water may be a novelty some Americans overlook, however about two thousand families in Zaidon are looking forward to it.
Getting together with the local government in Abu Ghraib, the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment "Dragons," 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad conducted a ceremony to kick-off renovations to the Zaidon water treatment plant in Abu Ghraib July 30.
The project will take about two months to complete and will provide clean water to large areas in Zaidon, such as living areas around the Zaidon Market and Nasir Wa Salam, said Lt. Col. Jim Bradford, a native of Lynchburg, Tenn., commander, 1st CAB, 63rd Armor Regt.
"Once this project is complete and power is serving this line, it will have the capacity to serve almost everyone in the Zaidon community," he said. "It will affect children as well as adults."
The project is one of many in Zaidon that helps a large part of the population through essential services.
The Dragons recently completed a water flow project in Zaidon's health clinic, which provides health care to most of the citizens in the area.
Bradford said the significance of water projects is found in the reasoning behind them.
"It gets after the vital infrastructure that we are trying to get, not only in the Qada [rural areas surrounding Baghdad], but also in the Baghdad area," he said. "We still target businesses and we still look at improving businesses to help the economy, but things like health care and clean water, those things get after the basic needs of everybody."
When the work to the facility is complete, the people of Zaidon won't have to worry about dangerous bacteria in their water.
"A year ago many people who live in this area got sick by catching viruses from the water, so that's why this project will be very beneficial," said Fali Ismael, manager of the Nasir Wa Salam Water Department. "I'm very happy for the people of Zaidon to have a service they haven't had in years."
Ismael added that because the project is so vital to the population, everybody working on it will work diligently to finish it.
Although safe drinking water is the obvious purpose of the project, Ismael said there are some other underlying reasons.
"Everybody knows that when you get more projects, the area will be more secure and safer," he said. "The insurgents don't want anything good for the area and the government does; this is why the people are starting to trust their government more. The number of projects has significantly grown in the last five years."
Another reason the bond between the government and the citizens of Zaidon is because the Iraqi Security Forces' part in security.
"The Iraqi Army is working with the citizens very well and they have a good attitude with the people," Ismael said. "When we are hand-in-hand, the trust is there. Respect and trust is growing among one another."
As the essential services builds the trust among citizens and local leaders, the economy grows as well because the employment is local.
"The good news is that in this project, the contractor and employees that are in the contract are from the Zaidon and Abu Ghraib area," Bradford said. "Employment is already taking place just by working on this project and at the same time there are engineers and personnel that work at the treatment plant."
The cooperation among the project planners continues to improve as the people of Zaidon continue to experience the benefits of essential services.
"This is a great day; it's all because of good cooperation with the local governance and the Iraqi Security Forces," said Bradford. "Most importantly, we were able to do this because security and the people understand the importance of bringing up these essential services."