Hydrogeology and the Bundeswehr: water supply to German armed forces in Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan between 1993 and 2010
Dierk Willig, 2012. "Hydrogeology and the Bundeswehr: water supply to German armed forces in Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan between 1993 and 2010", Military Aspects of Hydrogeology, E. P. F. Rose, J. D. Mather
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An army, the Bundeswehr, was created in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1956, from the 1960s supported by full-time geologists employed as civilians but with reserve army military ranks. A peak geologist strength (about 20) was achieved in the 1980s, to provide expertise that included hydrogeology. Roles in these Cold War years were confined to Germany, but included guidance to ensure that potable water would be available both to the civilian population and armed forces during a state of emergency, and the optimum siting of boreholes to supply water to military installations. In 1993, Bundeswehr troops deployed overseas, to support United Nations (UN) peace-keeping operations in Somalia. Military geological expertise was used to site wells that enhanced secure water supplies for German and other UN personnel, and the civilian population. In 1999, Bundeswehr troops were among those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) deployed to Kosovo. Wells to supply water to German troops in Albania and Yugoslavian Macedonia prior to deployment, and in Kosovo itself, were drilled under civilian contract but military geologist guidance. From 2002, Bundeswehr troops joined coalition forces in Afghanistan. Well drilling was again guided by military geologist expertise, but contract drilling proved inadequate, so was supplemented by rigs operated by military engineers. These operations have proved the value to the Bundeswehr of retaining military expertise in both hydrogeology and well drilling.
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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.