With a large number of busy, thirsty troops in Iraq, it is not surprising that there is a great demand for vast amounts of fresh bottled drinking water to be shipped to bases across the face of the country. One such base, out of many, that requires bottled water to be shipped to it is Forward Operating Base (FOB) Delta. However, unlike many other bases in Iraq, FOB Delta also is testing grounds for the Expeditionary Water Packaging System (EWOP).
According to an informational pamphlet produced by DRS Technologies (the manufacturer of the EWPS), “The United States ships about one and a half million bottles of drinking water into the southwest Asia theater each day. With sources in Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and around the Gulf region, water is shipped hundreds, if not thousands of miles, usually by truck, to reach its ultimate destination. Transportation costs are a major part of the $190 million the United States spent on this packaged water in one year. Some 60 percent of the available trucks in region are dedicated to moving water, rather than other vital military supplies. And these trucks are subject to great risk, and are frequently attacked by hostile forces in the region.”
The EWPS is a unit designed to mitigate these issues by bottling fresh drinking water at its source. “In Iraq, they have few bottling plants, and it costs a lot to ship the water,” says Daniel Parent, electrician and acting EWPS supervisor at FOB Delta. “Shipping through convoys is dangerous and expensive, so the Army is using a bunch of smaller plants to cut down the shipping costs and mitigate dangers by reducing the number of water convoys.” With the 7th Sustainment Brigade being battle space owners of FOB Delta, they have been able not only to witness the EWPS’s introduction into the Iraqi theater of operations, but also have been able to assist those operating it in order to ensure the smoothest possible operation of the unit.