As Iraqi flags waived in the air, Iraqi civilian and military dignitaries broke ground on the Army Canal Rehabilitation Project in Baghdadâ€™s Sadr City district Dec. 1.
This ceremonial groundbreaking marked the beginning of a commitment by the Government of Iraq to spend $50 million during the next three years in reconstruction efforts along the al-Kanat Road and surrounding areas, with construction slated to begin Dec. 17.
The Army Canal, which runs a total of 25 kilometers spanning from Adhamiyah in northeastern Baghdad to Rustimiyah in southeastern Baghdad, was built in 1959 by Abd al-Kassem Quassim the former president of Iraq. The canal was meant to provide fresh drinking water and irrigation to the people of northeastern Baghdad, but after years of damage and sediment buildup the canal has been unable to provide water for the people who rely so heavily upon it.
Now, with this groundbreaking marking the beginning of refurbishment to this vital lifeline, the canal will soon flow again with its much needed water.
â€œThis marks a source of hope for the Iraqi people and an example of what the future holds,â€ said Naeem Abub Misayd Al-Kabi, deputy mayor of Baghdad.
The Army Canal rebuilding is just the first step in an extensive three-year plan by the GoI to improve Baghdad.
In conjunction with this project, the Sadr al-Kanat pump station will be refurbished, several parks and recreational areas will be built, numerous shops and stores will be created, and trees and plants will be sown along the canal to improve life not only in the area surrounding the canal but throughout Baghdad.
This epic project has the potential to employ more than 50,000 people through its lifespan and push Baghdad to the next step in providing essential services to the people who so vitally need them.
â€œThis project will change the face of Baghdad,â€ said current Baghdad Mayor Navet Alessawi during the ceremony.