Life in the Iraqi village of Al Zatia has just gotten better, thanks to new windmill-powered water pumps. Installed by the U.S. military and private contractors, these are the first of what is hoped will be many windmill-powered water pumps in that nation.
Al Zatia has been without a reliable source of drinking
water since 2003. Although water was trucked in, the amount and price of water
often could be controlled by insurgents.
Col. Ryan Kuhn is deputy commanding officer for the US
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) in Iraq.
When he first saw Al Zatia, he realized life there could be improved if the
villagers had a better source of water and proposed windmills to run pumps.
The windmills were a new idea in Iraq.
When Kuhn first proposed the idea, local contractors were skeptical. “I’m a
farm boy from Nebraska,” Kuhn
explains. “If this worked for me in Nebraska
where water is hard to come by, there is no reason it wouldn’t work out here.”
The first windmill was completed in January and each system
costs $20,000, which includes the well, storage tank and a small pump. The
windmill can pull water from a 30-meter-deep well and into a 200-gallon holding
tank. Each pump, the story says, can produce 200 gallons of water every hour
and provide water for up to 150 families. Kuhn hopes to add a solar-powered
water purifier to the windmills. The purifiers would cost $7,000 each.
Maj. Chris Hempel is an agricultural officer with MNC-I
Civil Military Operations Cell, in Iraq.
“With the windmill-powered ground water pumps,” Hempel says, “they won’t have
to pay for water.”
“The windmills are [intended to provide] the majority of the
villagers’ drinking water,” says Hempel. “This area is unique. It’s the only area
with these windmills. This is a 3rd HBCT project and we wanted to get eyes-on
so we can potentially expand throughout other areas of the country. We will
keep monitoring the projects’ progress at Corps.”
Kuhn hopes to see the use of windmills expanded, and to have
new windmills manufactured in Iraq.