The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) found major delays and setbacks in the wastewater reconstruction project for Falluja. Federal investigators determined that the project is more than two years behind schedule and nearly three times over budget.
The report, released today, said that the project — originally slated to bring clean water to all the households in the city — will now only meet 38 percent of its goal when completed in 2009.
The project, managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, has faced major delays as a result of both insurgents and mismanagement. The Inspector General found that communication breakdowns in the chain of command helped perpetuate an incomplete image of progress.
In an interview with the New York Times, Army Corps spokeswoman DeDe Cordell defended the Corps’ progress. “This has been unbelievably challenging and indescribably dangerous, both from a security and a construction safety standpoint. People have died in an effort to bring the city its first wastewater treatment system, a fundamental service, with health and environmental benefits most Americans take for granted,” she said.
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Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Travis Edwards
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org