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NATO advisers provide clean water to Afghan village

U.S. Air Force Capt. Clint Cooper, 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group comptroller advisor, speak with a village elder Dec. 2, 2013 about the water system construction in Old Russian Village near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The water project, being overseen by the 838 AEAG Commander’s Emergency Response Program which began in October and will be completed in January 2014, will distribute clean, running water to more than 90 homes in the area and positively affect the lives of more than 600 village residents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Wilkins)

Capt. Clint Cooper speak with a village elder Dec. 2, 2013, about the water system construction in Old Russian Village near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The water project, being overseen by the 838th AEAG Commander’s Emergency Response Program which began in October and will be completed in January 2014, will distribute clean, running water to more than 90 homes in the area and positively affect the lives of more than 600 village residents. Cooper is a 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group comptroller adviser. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Wilkins)

Capt. Tony Hylko examines the water pressure and water flow of the current water well being used at a village Dec. 2, 2013, near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The water project being overseen by the 838 AEAG Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which began in October and will be completed in January 2014, will distribute clean, running water to more than 90 homes in the area and positively affect the lives of more than 600 village residents. Hylko is an 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group civil engineer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Wilkins)

Capt. Tony Hylko examines the water pressure and water flow of the current water well being used at a village Dec. 2, 2013, near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The water project being overseen by the 838th AEAG Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which began in October and will be completed in January 2014, will distribute clean, running water to more than 90 homes in the area and positively affect the lives of more than 600 village residents. Hylko is an 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group civil engineer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Wilkins)

SHINDAND AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Members of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Commander's Emergency Response Program conducted a site visit to a project at the Old Russian Village, a village near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan on Dec. 2.

The water project, which began in October and will be completed in January 2014, will distribute clean, running water to more than 90 homes in the area and positively affect the lives of more than 600 village residents, program officials said.

"As a CERP team, we have to accurately understand, assess and communicate the project requirements to those approving the project in our chain of command," said Capt. Clint Cooper, a 838th AEAG comptroller adviser. "It means spending a majority of our decision-making time to decide what the real problem is, and then we can come up with the best solution."

In July, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan advisers with the 838th AEAG, met with village elders in order to understand the demographics and pressing water requirements for the village. After determining the needs of the village and the best possible options, the $150,200 project was awarded and construction began in September. The project will use main water distribution nodes in order to distribute clean water to the local homes.

The current water system uses broken piping and has very little pressure in order to pull water from the well. The well is shallow so the water contains sediment, the pipes are not part of a closed system and leaks from the current piping create puddles on the surface. The new deep water well will provide cleaner water as well as distribute the water throughout the village using a main water line.

"The process for approving and seeing a CERP project through is nothing short of challenging," Cooper said. "It requires an attitude of teamwork not only between previous and current advisers to carry on with the remaining work that must be accomplished and future projects, but also teamwork with the people who live and work in the village; the people who it really matters the most to."

In addition to the Old Russian Village project, the 838th AEAG CERP team is also working two similar projects currently under construction and three others that are undergoing the assessment and approval process.

"As an engineer, this is what I live for," said Capt. Tony Hylko, a 838th AEAG civil engineer. "To be able to apply my knowledge and expertise in such manner so as to positively impact the lives of local Afghans in a direct, tangible way is simply a blessing. The CERP program is a conduit for getting resources to the right people at the right time."

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