Logistics: Kandahar Springs Bottled Water


February 5, 2011: One of the cleverest logistical developments in Afghanistan was the British Army building a bottled water plant in Kandahar. This is largely a desert area, but the Brits looked underground and found, as expected, underwater springs carrying water from the distant (but visible) Hindu Kush mountains. So they set up a water purification and bottling plant, that has eliminated the hassle and expense of bringing in over 1,000 truckloads of water a year since 2007. The plastic water bottles are brought in as small (test tube size) plastic preforms. When pumped full of air with a special machine, the plastic water bottle appears. Thus one pallet of preforms is turned into eleven of water bottles. The military uses more rugged plastic for their water bottles, not only to survive a harsher battlefield environment, but to have a longer shelf life (twice the one year for commercial bottled water).

Purification is minimal, as the 100,000 liters (25,000 gallons) a day that is brought up from four freshly dug wells, is pretty clean to begin with. Half of that is shipped to the troops, the rest is used at the Kandahar base. The square bottles are for military use only, and the water is shipped to all NATO forces in the area. The bottling plant is run by contractors and staffed by locals.





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