Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Numy Water Model of Dysfunction (n-WMD)

In efforts to disprove the notion that there were no WMD in Iraq, I report on something that I'd been meaning to get to for the past 11 months. One of the first things I noticed was that our Training Center was having problems with the water we were getting from the larger base on which it was a tenant unit.

So I tried to pin down the problem and fix it. But unfortunately, everytime we talked with someone related to the water supply, it was a different problem that needed fixing. If you are familiar with the song about 'the hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza', then you can appreciate the experience.

I at one point created a 3-dimensional model of this, and had intended to blog it way back when. But I'm only getting around to doing it now. And I haven't been practicing my powerpoint skills enough to have been able to get it into a 3-d model.

I went through and tried to catalogue all the places things have gone wrong, and could go wrong, and here is only a partial list:

Intake pipes at Tigris
Pumps at Tigris River- including filters
Pipelines to ANMTB
Holding tanks and treatment areas at ANMTB water station
Pumps at ANMTB water station
Pipelines and valves to pods
Generators for pumps
Fuel for generators
Contracted and IA operators
Saboteurs along the pipeline
Thieves of fuel

And then I tried to understand the rules of the game, to more fully understand how the system worked. They go a little something like this:

•Rules of the game
–Never provide more than 1/3 of a day of water pumping
–Failures must be present at one or more points within the entire system at all times
–If everything is working fine, people MUST intervene to ensure failures, ie just forget to turn on generators and pumps, even if there is enough fuel and everything works
–All failures are to be blamed on CPATT and the National Police

Now, as I look at the end of my tour, I can look back with admiration that the base has continued to function with absolutely no real improvement in the water situation. CPATT and the NPs have decided to pay a nominal fee to keep this marvelous system working for the forseeable future, just as it is. Why pay for real service when inadequate service will do?

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