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. Parched Baghdadis Due For Limited Relief: Water Officials

File photo: With support from ECHO, the ICRC is distributing clean water to 30 locations in Baghdad everyday, thus meeting the basic needs of 40,000 highly vulnerable people. Photo: ICRC
Baghdad (AFP) Jul 03, 2005
Baghdad water authorities should get some supplies back to parched residents by Sunday, the US military said, following a blast at a treatment plant that cut off western parts of the capital two days earlier.

"Baghdad Water Supply Authority (BWSA) repair crews working around the clock on the damaged Karkh Water Treatment Plant north of Baghdad report that a temporary work-around solution is complete," the statement said.

"Baghdad residents should expect to have limited supplies of water flowing again by July 3."

It was the second time in two weeks that more than a million people in western parts of the city were deprived of water as temperatures pushed well above 40 degrees Centigrade (104 degrees Farenheit).

The Iraqi capital, which has around 6.5 million inhabitants, faces repeated water shortages owing to obsolete installations.

On Friday, an explosion and fire in the plant's electrical distribution building destroyed the electrical control mechanisms, the US military said.

An interior ministry spokeswoman said the attack had "deprived half the city of water".

BWSA officials said one solution would be to draw drinking water from reservoirs at the plant and truck it to dry areas until the plant is up and running again, but no date was given for when full service might be restored.

On June 19, an explosion damaged an access chamber downstream, cutting water to western Baghdad for several days.

While around 97 percent of homes and businesses are hooked up to the city's water system, only 63 percent normally receive water on a regular basis even when the system is not being attacked, according to UN figures.

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