Sunday, August 05, 2007

Report: Some sections of Baghdad without water for 6 days

Above and Left: Iraqis gather water from water trucks and working hoses.

The capital is suffering through a water shortage, linked to the crippled electric grid that doesn't deliver sufficient power to run purification plants and pumping stations....

Vast sections of the Iraqi capital had lacked running water for 24 hours Thursday night, compounding the misery in a war zone amid the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer. Residents and city officials said large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days.

Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but residents described the current bout as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory.

Jamil Hussein, a 52-year-old retired army officer who lives in northeast Baghdad, said the water that does flow smells and is unclean. Two of his children have severe diarrhea that the doctor attributed to drinking what tap water was available, even after it was boiled.

"We'll have to continue drinking it, because we don't have money to buy bottled water," he said.

The cost of purified bottled water has shot up 33 percent. A 10-liter bottle now costs $1.60.

Adel al-Ardawi, a spokesman for the Baghdad city government, said that even with sufficient electricity "it would take 24 hours for the water mains to refill so we can begin pumping to residents." Noah Miller, spokesman for the U.S. reconstruction program in Baghdad, blamed the power outages on provinces north of Baghdad and in Basra in the far south where officials failed to cut back after taking their daily ration of electricity.

Read the rest at the Seattle Times