Water Utilities Offer Advisory Role in Iraqi Water Crisis
AWWA Offers Assistance, Expertise, Training Strategies
The American Water Works Association (AWWA), a water industry trade association, offered to provide the U.S. government advice and guidance on rebuilding the water utility infrastructure in Iraq.
According to last Wednesday's hearing of the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Andrew Natsios, Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), testified that the most urgent need in Iraq is the assessment and repair of more than 250 water treatment facilities throughout Iraq.
Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe drinking water in North America. AWWA has over 56,000 members worldwide and its 4,500 utility members serve 80 percent of America's population. AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of drinking water in North America and beyond and advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the drinking water community.
In addition to AWWAs municipal utility membership, AWWA represents leading manufacturers, engineering firms, and academic research expertise relating to the delivery of clean drinking water. AWWA is recognized as one of the worlds premier water industry training and research organizations
In a letter to United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman (letter attached) AWWA Executive Director Jack Hoffbuhr said that AWWAs members have been watching the Iraqi situation unfold and are willing to offer advice, expertise and strategic assistance to help rebuild the Iraqi water infrastructure.
"Meeting this need will ensure the supply of clean water to the Iraqi people and prevent potentially deadly water borne diseases among them," Hoffbuhr wrote.
"As you know, the immediate needs in providing safe drinking water to the Iraqi people are enormous. Without timely assessments and quick delivery of clean water, the health issues resulting from absent or contaminated water could create catastrophic health conditions in both urban and rural areas of the country.
"Through AWWAs membership and network of close to 60,000 water industry professionals, we have the ability to develop a partnership that can help to advise the United States government in its post-war reconstruction efforts that will assist Iraqs water needs."
Hoffbuhr also noted that Water for People, a non-profit NGO and an independent member of the AWWA family has a history of working with the water profession in identifying and assisting developing countries in building clean water and sanitation projects. In October of 2000, Water For People formed a unique partnership with the U.S. EPA, called "Water For Africa". This is the second major effort between Water For People and the EPA to help people worldwide obtain safe drinking water. Water For People has also been recognized for this work in an official summary report submitted at the U.N. World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in August of 2002. More information about these programs are available at www.waterforpeople.org.