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Cablegate: Prt Anbar: Prt Helps Tackle Provincial Water

VZCZCXRO8931
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0462/01 0521430
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211430Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6744
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0031
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0704
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 2343
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 0146

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000462

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV PGOV PREL IZ TU SY JO
SUBJECT: PRT ANBAR: PRT HELPS TACKLE PROVINCIAL WATER
PROBLEMS

REF: A. 09 BAGHDAD 0931
B. 09 BAGHDAD 2469

1. (U) This is an Anbar Provincial Reconstruction Team
(PRT)(Ramadi) cable.

2. (U) SUMMARY: A three year drought and damming along the
upper Euphrates River has dramatically reduced the amount of
water available in Anbar Province. Water levels in Lake
Qaddasiya, the province's main reservoir, have dropped nearly
30 meters in two years, and the Haditha hydroelectric dam is
currently operating at ten percent capacity. Pollution,
inadequate sewage treatment, poor maintenance and managerial
challenges have further exacerbated Anbar's water woes. In
response, the PRT and its military partners have invested
over $100 million in water collection / distribution and
sewage treatment projects since 2005 to provide Anbar's
citizens with regular access to clean water. Despite the
degradation of the water supply, through joint PRT/Anbar
Government initiatives, the PRT anticipates that 100 percent
of Anbar's 1.4 million residents will have potable water by
the end of 2010. END SUMMARY.

BACKGROUND
----------

3. (U) Anbar Province, encompassing one-third of Iraq,s land
mass, is a predominantly desert environment. The province's
1.4 million residents live in cities and villages bordering
the Euphrates River and its canals. The Euphrates is
essential to Anbaris' lives and livelihoods, providing water
for the people and their livestock, and irrigation for their
crops.

4. (U) Yet Anbar, like the rest of Iraq, has been suffering
through a prolonged drought. This problem has been
exacerbated by extensive damming of the Euphrates River.
Turkey contributes an average of 90 percent of the Euphrates
water flow, while Syria contributes another eight percent.
Both of these countries have been constructing dams along the
river since the 1970s; Turkey alone maintains 22 dams along
the upper Euphrates (ref A). Before the development of these
dams, the Euphrates River's average flow rate into Iraq
exceeded 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, or 1000
cubic meters per second (cms). According to data from the
Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, this flow rate had
declined to 290 cms by August of 2009. Today, the Euphrates
River inflow from Syria is at its lowest level in six years
(ref B).

5. (U) Consequently, water levels along the Euphrates in
Anbar have dropped an average of one to three meters, while
water levels in Lake Qaddasiya, Anbar's main reservoir, have
dropped 30 meters since 2007. The Haditha hydroelectric dam,
which controls the flow of water from the lake into the
Euphrates, contains six turbines capable of generating 660
megawatts of electricity for the Iraqi national power grid.
At present, two of those generators have been placed on
long-term outage, while the remaining four generators produce
an average of only 50 megawatts of electricity.

6. (U) Agricultural runoff all along the Euphrates River has
polluted the waters with fertilizers, pesticides and salts.
In addition, raw sewage and industrial discharges are
routinely dumped directly into the river (ref B). As water
levels have decreased, pollutants have become more
concentrated in the remaining water. These factors, coupled
with inadequate sewage treatment, have increased health risks
to the general populace. Concentrated pollutants in the
Euphrates can cause periodic cholera outbreaks, diarrhea
QEuphrates can cause periodic cholera outbreaks, diarrhea
diseases, stunted growth, and increased infant and child
mortality.

MANAGERIAL AND MAINTENANCE ISSUES EXACERBATE THE PROBLEM
--------------------------------------------- -----------

7. (SBU) Tribal politics and budgetary deficiencies further
degrade the local Directorate of Water's (DOW) ability to
distribute potable water. The Anbar Director General (DG) of
Water, Ibrahim Madlool, lacks the ability to make personnel
changes within his own organization. In addition, tribal
sheikhs influence many water allocation decisions, while
tribal water plant managers often overrule the decisions of
DOW engineers.


BAGHDAD 00000462 002 OF 003


8. (U) Furthermore, the DG of Water's operational budget only
provides for salary payments, with no funding allocated for
maintenance, repairs, capital projects or water treatment. A
pervasive mindset of "running systems until failure" further
complicates matters. While all water plants in Anbar are
supplied with redundant pumps, PRT representatives have
visited many locations where one pump was functioning, but
the backup pump was broken, and no efforts were being made to
repair it.

9. (U) Electricity shortages also contribute to premature
equipment failure and degraded water quality. Many water
pumping and treatment plants in Anbar receive only six hours
of power per day. Frequent power outages compel treatment
plants to repeatedly re-pressurize their pipelines, leading
to equipment fatigue and failure. Intermittent water
service, coupled with reduced waterline pressure, allows
contaminants to enter the pipeline as well.

10. (U) Lastly, water distribution networks in Anbar are
generally quite old and their pipes are riddled with cracks,
breaks, illegal taps and inadequate safety valves. Soil
chemistry also contributes to pipeline erosion. In short,
the Anbar water distribution system is substandard.

PRT STRATEGIC EFFORTS DELIVER TANGIBLE RESULTS
--------------------------------------------- -

11. (U) To address these issues, the PRT and its military
partners have implemented a strategic plan that has
dramatically improved water quality and distribution in Anbar
Province. Using over $100 million in CERP funds, the PRT and
the U.S. military have built 197 new water treatment plants
since 2005, raising the total number of these plants in Anbar
Province to over 400.

12. (U) Because of decreased water levels, many of Anbar's
water intake structures had been drawing water from the
stagnant banks of the Euphrates River, collecting silt and
contaminants. In 2009, the PRT spent $1.7 million in CERP
funds to modify 55 of these structures, ensuring that they
draw cleaner water from the middle of the river. The PRT
plans to spend an additional $1 million to modify 35 more
water intake structures in 2010.

13. (U) More importantly, the PRT and the Anbar Government
are pioneering a new, cost-effective approach to waste water
treatment. In 2010, the partners will spend $7 million to
install four biological lagoons along the Euphrates River,
providing sewage treatment for 400,000 people. These
low-tech lagoons require minimal maintenance since they
utilize biological organisms to decompose waste material.
This material can then be converted to fertilizer and sold to
local farmers. Also in 2010, the PRT will spend $3.4 million
in CERP funds to install eight compact water treatment units
in various rural areas of Anbar.

14. (U) Today, 90 percent of Anbari residents have access to
potable water, and the Anbar Directorate of Water is able to
produce 200 percent of its annual treated water requirements.
With the installation of the biological lagoons and compact
water treatment units, the PRT anticipates that Anbar
Province will be able to provide treated water to 100 percent
of its residents by the end of 2010.


GOI BUY-IN AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT
-----------------------------------

15. (U) Since 2009, each of these projects has secured a
cost-share of between 50 and 75 percent from GOI partner
agencies. In addition, the local DGs have become
Qagencies. In addition, the local DGs have become
increasingly competent in planning and executing these
projects through their partnership with the PRT and the U.S.
military. The PRT anticipates that its GOI partners will be
fully capable of implementing their own programs upon the
team's departure in 2011.

PROBLEM SOLVED (?)
-----------------

16. (U) To date, the PRT has focused its efforts on
eliminating water service gaps and remedying treatment
deficiencies in Anbar. Despite its significant achievements,
several challenges remain. Turkey and Syria's damming of the

BAGHDAD 00000462 003 OF 003


Euphrates River constitutes a systemic threat to the
agricultural and economic vitality of Anbar Province; a
threat that can only be addressed through ongoing
international negotiations. The provision of sufficient
electricity to power the water distribution system is another
issue that must be addressed at the national level.

17. (U) At the local level, the Directorate of Water, in
collaboration with the Provincial Government, must take steps
to empower its management team to resist tribal influence.
The DOW must also repair and upgrade its existing water
distribution systems while providing adequate budgetary
support for routine equipment maintenance. Lastly,
implementing fee service policies and combating illegal
tapping will help to increase revenues and decrease water
waste and misuse. The PRT continues to work with its local
partners in an advisory capacity to address these issues,
with an eye toward its eventual withdrawal from Anbar
Province in 2011.
FORD

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