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Photo, caption below.
Dr. Mohammed al-Rubeiy, chairman of the Kharadah District Advisory Council, speaks to members of the press conference May 31, 2005, about a water project in the Zafaraniya district of the capital. Ultimately, approximately 200,000 people will have vastly improved access to clean water, sewage systems and electricity. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ben Brody
Zafaraniya Residents Get Water Project Update
Upon completion, approximately 200,000 people will have improved
access to clean water, sewage systems and electricity.
By U.S. Army 2nd Brigade Combat Team
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 1, 2005 — Dr. Mohammed al-Rubeiy, chairman of the Kharadah District Advisory Council, held a press conference May 31 in the District Advisory Council Hall to discuss a water project in Zafaraniya.

“I want to let the people of Zafaraniya know that they must have patience, because this project will take time to complete,” he said. “But it will mean great things for our city.”

Al-Rubeiy said there are many ongoing projects in his city, and that they are the result of great investment from Iraqi people and Coalition Forces.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Merkel, commander, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, attended the conference and voiced his support for the project.

"The infrastructure in his area has been completely neglected for 30 years. There are no quick, easy fixes in this situation, but we’ve got the tools and commitment from the Iraqi people to make things better for everyone," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Merkel










“Dr. Mohammed conveys a message of progress and patience,” Merkel said. “The goal he is working toward is to make tomorrow better than today for the young people of Iraq.”

The water system in Zafaraniya, a suburb of Baghdad, was built in the 1970s and 80s, and has seen very little maintenance or repair, according to an Iraqi engineer associated with the project.

“The infrastructure in his area has been completely neglected for 30 years,” Merkel said. “There are no quick, easy fixes in this situation, but we’ve got the tools and commitment from the Iraqi people to make things better for everyone.”

Dr. Mohamed al-Rubeiy, chairman of Kharadah District Advisory Council, meets with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Merkel, commander, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, May 31, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ben Brody

Approximately $3.5 million has been spent on the project, which is about 50 percent complete. More than 300 Iraqi workers are contributing to the project.

Ultimately, approximately 200,000 people will have vastly improved access to clean water, sewage systems, and electricity.

The Iraqi engineer said residents who have water already are very pleased with the project.

The project represents a small part of the $2 billion that is being spent on reconstruction around Iraq, but reflects the same spirit of progress, Merkel said.

“There is a big technological gap between Iraq and most of the world, about 35 years, that we need to close,” al-Rubeiy said. “We understand we need help, but we know we have the natural resources and human resources to achieve our goals.”

Merkel agreed. “A dream shared by one is only a dream - a dream shared by all is a reality,” he said.

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