Hydrogeology in support of British military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan 2003 to 2009
Robert I. L. Dow, Edward P. F. Rose, 2012. "Hydrogeology in support of British military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan 2003 to 2009", Military Aspects of Hydrogeology, E. P. F. Rose, J. D. Mather
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In 2003, three British reserve army geologists contributed hydrogeological advice to assist planning for the Coalition invasion of Iraq by predicting likely groundwater and drilling conditions. In consequence, 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Water Development) was deployed in theatre soon after hostilities began, to provide a water supply infrastructure for British troops. However, a speedy end to combat, and concentration of British troops in southern Iraq where surface waters were the primary source of supply, necessitated only four new boreholes. Elements of 521 STRE deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, again with hydrogeological guidance, to enhance water supplies for a Provincial Reconstruction Team and Forward Operating Base (FOB), and to develop a water supply infrastructure for the main British operational base at Camp Bastion. Local contractors were used to drill 11 wells, each to over 100 m depth, in Quaternary alluvium. Subsequently, hydrogeology was used to guide successful groundwater development at four out of five FOBs, involving 28 new boreholes, minimizing risks associated with water supply by road or helicopter, and to facilitate expansion of Camp Bastion to accommodate a surge of Coalition troops. Tasks in Afghanistan have generated the most significant British military use of hydrogeology in recent years.
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This book, generated under the auspices of the Geological Society of London’s History of Geology and Hydrogeological Groups, contains 20 papers from authors in the UK, USA, Germany and Austria. Historically, it gives examples of the influence of groundwater on battlefield tactics and fortress construction; describes how groundwater was developed for water supply and overcome as an obstacle to military engineering and cross-country vehicular movement by both sides in World Wars I and II; and culminates with examples of the application of hydrogeology to site boreholes in recent conflicts, notably in Afghanistan. Examples of current research described include hydrological model development; the impact of variations in soil moisture on explosive threat detection and cross-country vehicle mobility; contamination arising from defence sites and its remediation; privatization of water supplies; and the equitable allocation of resources derived from an international transboundary aquifer.