PANJSHIR, Afghanistan, June 1, 2011 -- The Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs visited a village in Bazarak Municipality, Afghanistan, May 24, 2011, to assess the final stages of a system designed to supply clean drinking water.

According to the Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT, Astana villagers had only irrigation water from the river in the valley at their disposal.

“They previously had no other way to obtain clean water for drinking and cooking,” said 1st Lt. Hakan Togul, PRT civil affairs lead. “The water from the river is unsanitary and was making some of the villagers sick.”

After villagers spoke to the local Community Development Council about the issue, the CDC brought the idea to the PRT civil affairs team.

“We were concerned more villagers would become sick from the conditions of the water,” said Idi Mohammad, a CDC member, through an interpreter. “We asked for help from the PRT so this village could have the clean water they needed.”

The PRT bought the materials required to build a piping system from a natural mountain spring more than 2,000 meters above the village. The villagers collected funds amongst themselves to help pay for the labor of the workers laying the pipe.

To determine how much water each household is using, engineers will install meters to track water usage.

“The villagers will charge a small fee for the amount being used and apply the money toward the maintenance of the meters and piping system,” said Togul. “They made their own contribution to the upkeep of this project with no prompting from the PRT. This shows great initiative by the village, and it makes me very happy to help.”

Laborers from the local area dug and placed the piping.

“The village has gone long enough without proper drinking water, so completing the project as efficiently and as fast as possible is our goal,” said Mohammad.

After more than a month of planning and construction, the project is in its final stages of completion. The village expects to have access to clean drinking water within two weeks.

“The Panjshiris are proud people and are concerned about their community,” added Togul. “We have a great working relationship, and seeing their dedication to serve themselves to develop their province shows great initiative.”