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MCB Quantico, Va.
Leaner system goes distance to push water to Marines

By Mathuel Browne, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communications | Marine Corps Systems Command | May 2, 2016

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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia -- style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Marine Corps System Command is fielding a new water distribution system that streamlines water delivery to Marines in austere locations.

The Expeditionary Water Distribution System delivers water with a leaner design, solving challenges of its predecessor, the Tactical Water Distribution System.  The TWDS had 9,000 parts and was 5,000 cubic feet in size, making it too large and complex for agile missions.

“In the past we had a big cumbersome kit that no one wanted to take and deal with, since it would take three tractor trailers to move a system out to the field,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Morris, a project officer with MCSC’s Expeditionary Power Systems. “So instead, we would fill our 900-gallon tanks and put them on the back of trucks to transport thousands of gallons from the water source all day.”

When creating the EWDS, the EPS product team overhauled TWDS with the goal of reducing the size and weight of the system for easier use, while saving money.  The new design replaced aging 10-mile water hose kits with smaller, modular 1.4-mile hose kits that can interconnect to expand up to five miles, decreasing volume. The final product is a scalable system that eliminates 2,807 redundant parts, while distributing up to 700,000 gallons of water a day.

“The smaller footprint of EWDS has reduced the number of Marines needed for setup from 11 to six,” said Dr. Jennifer Stephens, training lead for Expeditionary Power Systems. “The old TWDS system required extensive time and experience for assembly and disassembly with its multiple individual parts distributed in many crates.”

Additionally, EWDS can be stored using only 13 crates instead of 30 with TWDS.  A color-coded organization system reduces the amount of time needed for setup, tear-down and inventory. 

EWDS works as part of a four-step process for purifying and delivering water to camps. During water purification, the Lightweight Water Purification System purifies the water, which is then transferred via EWDS by 600- or 150-gallon-per-minute pumps through the system’s hoses to the camp’s storage, said Morris.  

“This modular system is the link between the purification and the end user that gives the commander the flexibility to determine the amount of water needed depending on the mission,” he said. “Though it’s not practical to run the pump’s 24/7, this system is robust enough to meet whatever the camp demands.”

EWDS is being fielded to Engineer Support Battalions and Marine Wing Support Squadrons, whose personnel are specially trained to use the system. This training is conducted at the Marine Corp Engineer School, in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the Basic Water Support Technician Course.

“We have already conducted two new equipment trainings for the EWDS fielded at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, with approximately 133 Marines,” said Stephens. “We rolled out the system really quickly and expect the EWDS to be fully phased in by fiscal year 2017.”
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