News: Water in the Desert
Story by Staff Sgt. Christina Turnipseed
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Iraq— The deputy commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division introduced the Non-lethal Fires Effects major of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division to a key leader Tuesday in the Dibis District of Kirkuk, Iraq.
Lt. Col. McNeely of 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. introduced Maj. Johnny Workman of 1-1 AD, from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Bekr Raheem the district chief engineer of the Dibis District in Kirkuk. McNeely will depart and leave Workman in charge of the brigade's key leader engagements in the local area.
Raheem is in charge of the operation of the Dibis Dam which can distribute up to 57 million cubic meters of water through numerous canals to water much of the desert lands of northern Iraq.
The Kirkuk Canal is one of the water ways which streams from the Dibis Dam sending drinking water to dry, desert places like Kirkuk, Taza, Dayuy and Tuz.
Kirkuk and the surrounding provinces have suffered from a four-year drought, which has left frustrated farmers and a wavering local economy.
"One of the things we did to help with water shortages was to increase the number of wells," said McNeely. "There have been some improvements although there is still room for more."
McNeely described some of the challenges caused by the four-year drought.
Some of the challenges are the population growth which is putting a strain on the limited water resources, wells are drying up and saltwater that surfaces in newly drilled wells, he said.
In addition to drilling more wells, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. has assisted the local farmers with the help of the Provincial Reconstruction Team by introducing them to efficient irrigation methods like drip irrigation and center point irrigation which saves about three percent more water than flood irrigation used by most farmers in the local area.
Hoop houses or greenhouses have also been introduced to the farmers, during this time of drought, so farmers can grow produce year-round.
McNeely and Workman also visited a local power plant that helps supply the necessary power to operate local dams, whose water flows from the Dokan Lake in the mountains.
"The dam and the power plant shows just how the KRG [Kirgizstan Regional Government] and the GOI [Government of Iraq] is working together to provide vital, essential services to the Kirkuk province," said Workman.