To provide its soldiers with clean water in a handy format, the US Army already used a bottling plant from Kärcher Futuretech close to Al-Kut in Iraq from 2008 to 2009. Since 2010, the activities of the US Army have focused on Afghanistan. In order to ensure the water supply of their soldiers also in this country, the US Armed Forces now use seven additional water bottling plants. The first two units were commissioned in Camp Dwyer (Helmand Province) on 12 August 2010, thus closing an important logistical gap in the provision of drinking water in Afghanistan which is still lacking in infrastructure.

Before that, practical training had to be given to ensure the smooth operation of the water bottling systems in addition to regular maintenance directly on site. The staff, coming from the US, was trained on the Kärcher Futuretech premises in Schwaikheim. Throughout 2010, four teams practised operating the system in six-week courses. The four different teams, which included operators as well as repair staff, were trained under realistic conditions. The first teams started bottling in the winter months, producing more than 5,000 bottles per day.

At the end of the first training course, a team of programm officers, hygiene experts and engineers of the US Army observed how the bottling system works as well as the bottling conditions on site and the quality of the bottled water. Not only the hygiene experts were very satisfied with their lab results, also the programm officers were impressed by the bottled water produced with the systems from Kärcher Futuretech. They gave the systems the green light for Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Dariel Mayfield insisted on handing the training certificates to the trainees personally thus delegating the ‘bottlers’ to Afghanistan.

This event also represented an important further step in the consolidation of the cooperation between Kärcher Futuretech, its strategic partner DRS Technologies, and the US Army. Sales manager Wolfgang Kliem is very satisfied with the developments made to date: “The procurement conditions are not easy in the US, but it has now been demonstrated that they can be overcome together with our partner DRS Technologies on the basis of our long-term strategy.”

Not only Americans rely on the possibility to bottle water directly on site in the field. The British Armed Forces in Camp Bastion (Helmand Province, Afghanistan) have been producing drinking water in bottles for over two years, and the German Federal Armed Forces were even able to celebrate a jubilee in their camp in Mazar-e Sharif in November when bottle no 3,000,000 was produced. If one sums up all the 1l bottles produced by the three armed forces (US, UK, Germany), the total comes to about 40 million. The point of reference for the strategic use and set-up of the systems is Andreas Hänle, head of service and training at Kärcher Futuretech, who proudly states: “Water bottling is a success story that speaks for itself.” He is now looking forward to even more positive outcome from the Hindukush.