One of the objectives in helping to rebuild Iraq is to restore water and sanitation systems in the country to ensure a reliable supply of potable water to the general public. Both water and sanitation systems are designed to protect public health, although after many years of outdated operating practices and
inadequate maintenance, the need for rehabilitation of these facilities to their original capacities has become urgent. The need to protect public health and improve water supply to the public means that the planned rehabilitation will go beyond restoring the system to pre-conflict conditions.
Plans and programs are being established to restore water and sanitation systems in Baghdad and six other urban centres across Iraq. Program work ranges in size and duration, from short-term projects such as the restoration of potable water to 40,000 residents of Safwan (completed in November 2003), to longer-term projects such as the Shark Dijla project in Baghdad, which will increase potable water supply to the capital by 225 million litres a day by May 2004.
Additionally, a Baghdad citywide sewage system refurbishment program, co-funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), will benefit 3.5 million residents of Baghdad and many more downstream upon completion, while in the southern city of Basrah, a systematic refurbishment of the water supply system will benefit 1.5 million residents.