WASIT PROVINCE, Iraq (Nov. 24, 2010) -- After seven years of sporadic operation, farmers in Numaniyah recently received new water pumps for a pumping station that helps irrigate 1,500 farms.

The new pumps were provided by the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR). The PRT, escorted by Soldiers from Company H, 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR, held a meeting on Nov. 14 with local farmers in the Numaniyah area to see the pumps in action and discuss future management of the pump station.

"The operation of this pumping station has been on and off since 2003," said Armand Lanier, a PRT agricultural advisor from the United States Agency for International Development. "The station has pumped water through four antiquated pumps that have needed constant maintenance."

In recent years, the station has struggled to pump enough water to supply the 1,500 farms in the area and was costly to keep up. With nobody officially responsible for the station, it seemed it would remain out of service. Now, with the new pumps and discussions developing between the farmers, the station is on its way to effective production once again.

After the PRT assessment, funds were appropriated for two new heavy-capacity generators to provide power for the pumps. The new pumps pull water horizontally from tubes that reach out further into the river, allowing for greater pressure and more water. The canal now flows at the limit of it banks.

"The PRT plans to meet monthly with the farmers' Water User Association," said Lanier. "We want to teach them to be more water conscious, which will increase production for them."

The Soldiers of Company H have an essential piece of the development of the area as well.

"Our responsibility is to enable the PRT by getting them out here and making sure they have a safe environment to operate in," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Hubacek, a platoon sergeant in Company H. "We also spend a lot of time with (Iraqi Security Forces) and try to maintain positive relationships with them."

Hubacek said it was important for U.S. Forces to be engaged with these processes of Iraqi reconstruction.

"We really want to train the farmers to be better users of their water and agricultural resources," said Lanier. "We want them to be effective on their own because that's the aim of these projects."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16