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January 21, 2004
Release Number: 04-01-52


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


CONFERENCE SEEKS WAYS TO IMPROVE IRAQ'S WATER SUPPLY

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Task Force 1st Armored Division soldiers from the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from Abilene, Texas with help from the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, hosted a conference Jan. 15, to discuss ways to raise water quality for the people of Iraq.

Several Iraqi representatives from government ministries, local universities, community water districts and representatives from foreign health and government agencies came together at the Baghdad Convention Center to discuss problems and explore solutions for Iraq's water problems.
Iraqi water quality experts and water system technicians and managers also participated in the conference.

"The ministries have come together today to discuss the current status of water quality, different agencies' roles and future vision," said 1st Lt. Jeffery Smiley, water quality officer with the 490th. "We coordinated, got the water quality committee together and talked about projects."

The first session, said Smiley, focused mostly around establishing and refurbishing water quality laboratories and distributing literature and training on water purification. The second session covered the previous years' studies and the results of those studies.

The water quality committee has established several goals with the help of the U.S. Army, said Smiley.
The primary goal is to reestablish water quality laboratories, and in turn, improve and revamp water quality monitoring systems and procedures throughout the country.

Smiley said that establishing facilities and training personnel would allow those who have received the instruction to train others. The U.S. Army's goals within these projects are to provide the Iraqi workers with the proper tools and know-how to provide safer quality water supplies to their countrymen, said Smiley.

"We are not trying to teach our (U.S.) standards. We are just trying to spark thought so they will develop their own standards," Smiley said. "The country's goals of water purification will be accomplished by Iraqis."

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