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Water engineering skills developed in Britain are exported worldwide.

British engineers designed and built water and waste water treatment infrastructure around the world during the 20th century. Most of the water supply systems in our former colonies were designed by British engineers.

Many systems are still in operation today, sometimes functioning more reliably than more recent additions. Probably the largest is the Karkh Water Treatment Works and supply system in Baghdad, Iraq. This works, which was built in the early 1980s, can provide 1.3M.m3/day. The engineers for the design and construct consortium were WS Atkins with Binnie & Partners the engineer for the owner. Without it, Baghdad would not have clean water for drinking, cooking or washing.

Probably the most well known overseas sewerage project is the Greater Cairo Wastewater Scheme constructed in the 1980s. This was designed by an Anglo-American consortium of John Taylor & Sons (now Hyder Consultants), Binnie & Partners, Black & Veatch which have now merged, and CDM.

The situation had been reached that the sewer system was so overloaded that waste water was appearing in the streets.

Because the town was very extensive, the sewers old, and the roads very crowded, it was decided to construct tunnels to convey the sewage to the new sewage treatment works at Gabel El Asfar.

The tunnels are 50km long, up to 5m in diameter and convey a dry weather flow of 1M.m3/day. The treatment works uses the activated sludge system. Without this scheme sewage would be running in many of the streets of Cairo causing disease and polluting the Nile on which so many other towns rely for their drinking water and which farmers use for irrigating their fields - wading in the water to plant their rice. The scheme has done much to stave off major health problems. British civil engineers, particularly consulting engineers, continue to be involved in many of the major water projects around the world. This brings increased economic benefit, a higher standard of life, reduced incidence of disease, better recreation in the cleaner rivers and an improved eco-system.

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