Afghanistan

Papers, Articles

Q. Naimi: Vision of the Integrated Water Resources Development in Afghanistan

2003

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A. Aini: Water Conservation in Afghanistan

2006

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S.S. Shobairi, A. K. Alim: The effects of calamities on water resources and consumption in Afghanistan

2004

This paper focuses mainly on the impact of the recent drought and the armed conflict onwater availability for different users; as considerable negative impact on drinking water, agricultural outputs, in number of livestock, local people displacement, environment degradation and socio-economy in the country have been imposed.

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A. K. Alim: Present Situation of the Sustainable Management of Water Resources for Human Survival and Bio-production, and the Role of Agro-environmental Education Today in Afghanistan

2005

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P. Azizi: Special Lecture on Water Resources in Afghanistan

2002

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S. Horsman: Afghanistan and Transboundary Water Management on the Amu Darya: a Political History

2008

Afghanistan is a key Amu Darya riparian state. Its fellow riparians have established water management structures, which have not included Afghanistan or recognised its interests however. This paper explores why this is the case. Regional power politics and antipathy towards cooperation, institutional inertia and selfinterest, Afghanistan’s slow emergence from conflict, and its present limited water demands probably explain Kabul’s isolation. Its participation in these structures could help it and the region’s economic and environmental development and encourage cooperative processes. Afghanistan’s exclusion is not at present a major political, security or environmental problem however.

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I. Zonn: Water Resources of Northern Afghanistan and Their Future Use

2002

The Civil War in Afghanistan, that has been dragging for two decades already (it began in late 1978 after intrusion of the Soviet Union and then the anti-terrorist operation pursuing the target to do away with the “seat” of terrorism represented by the Taliban movement), has led, in addition to huge people losses, to devastation of the economy. Considerable areas of agricultural lands have been disused. Hundreds of thousands of rural population emigrated from the country. By UN estimates at present Afghanistan is the only country in the world with such great number of mines. In view of the finance deficit the peasants more often than before prefer growing not wheat, but opium poppy that is sold to intermediaries and then is exported to foreign countries.

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Event Report: Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia: Improving Regional Cooperation on Water / Opening Session

2009

On 2 April 2009, the EastWest Institute’s Preventive Diplomacy Initiative launched a new series of expert dialogues on water security in Afghanistan and the region. The series, Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia: Improving Regional Cooperation on Water, follows a decision by the EastWest Institute’s Parliamentarians Network on Conflict Prevention and Human Security to focus on water security as a critical component of conflict prevention.
The opening session of the series, held in the EastWest Institute Brussels Centre, brought together political representatives and experts from Afghanistan and the region and began to forge collective action on water – the most critical of natural resources.

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Event Report: Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia: Improving Regional Cooperation on Water / Session 2: the AmuDarya River Basin

2009

The second session of the series, held in the EastWest Institute Brussels Centre, brought together political representatives, experts and academics from Afghanistan, its neighbors and key stakeholders from the international community, including the European Union, NATO and civil society, to explore enhanced regional cooperation on the water resources of the Amu Darya River Basin.

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Event Report: Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia: Improving Regional Cooperation on Water / Session 4: the Helmand River Basin and the Harirud and Murghab Rivers

2009

On Thursday, June 25, EWI’s Preventive Diplomacy Initiatives hosted the fourth installment of the policy dialogue series, Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia: Improving Regional Cooperation on Water in Brussels. The session focused on the Helmand River Basin, shared between Afghanistan and Iran, and the Harirud and Murghab River Basins, which are also shared with Turkmenistan. Participants considered challenges to cooperative management of these water sources and proposed strategies to overcome these challenges.

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G. Houben, N. Niard, T. Tunnermeier, T. Himmelsbach: Hydrogeology of the Kabul Basin (Afghanistan), part I: aquifers and hydrology

2008

Shallow groundwater represents the main source for water supply in Kabul, Afghanistan. Detailed information on the hydrogeology of the Kabul Basin is therefore needed to improve the current supply situation and to develop a sustainable framework for future groundwater use. The basin is situated at the intersection of three major fault systems of partially translational and extensional character. It comprises three interconnected aquifers, 20-70 m thick, consisting of coarse sandy to gravely detritus originating from the surrounding mountains. The aquifers were deposited by three rivers flowing through the basin. The coarse aquifer material implies a high permeability. Deeper parts are affected by cementation of pore spaces, resulting in formation of semi-diagenetic conglomerates, causing decreased well yields. Usually the aquifers are covered by low-permeability loess which acts as an important protection layer. The main groundwater recharge occurs after the snowmelt from direct infiltration from the rivers. The steadily rising population is estimated to consume 30-40 million m3 groundwater per year which is contrasted by an estimated recharge of 20-45 million m3/a in wet years. The 2000-2005 drought has prevented significant recharge resulting in intense overexploitation indicated by falling groundwater levels.

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G. Houben, T. Tunnermeier, N. Eqrar, T. Himmelsbach: Hydrogeology of the Kabul Basin (Afghanistan), part II: groundwater geochemistry

2008

Shallow groundwater is the main source for drinking water in Kabul, Afghanistan. It comes from a multitude of shallow hand-pumped wells spread over the whole city area. The groundwater is characterised by slightly oxic redox conditions. Interactions with aquifer carbonates lead to near-neutral pH and high degrees of hardness. The mostly negative water budget of the Kabul Basin is the result of strong evaporation which leads to an increase in salt and also of some undesirable constituents, e.g. borate. Several years of drought have aggravated this problem. The shallow groundwater in the city has received tremendous amounts of pollution due to a lack of proper waste disposal and sewage treatment. Common indicators are elevated concentrations of nutrients such as nitrate and faecal bacteria. The high infant mortality can at least partially be attributed to the insufficient water hygiene. Acid generated during the mineralisation of the wastewater is hidden due to the strong pH buffering capacity of the groundwater system. Redox and pH conditions preclude significant mobilisation of trace metals and metalloids.

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G. R. Lashkaripour, S. A. Hussaini: Water resource management in Kabul river basin, eastern Afghanistan

2008

Severe drinking water shortage affects all resident of the Kabul river basin. Two and a half decades of civil war in Afghanistan (it began in late 1978) have resulted in widespread environmental degradation and water resource development throughout the country. The war has already finished and, therefore, water resource management for supplying water is one of the most important tasks for Afghanistan’s government. The Kabul river basin which is the most populated area in the country is located in the eastern part of Afghanistan. This article deals with the water resource properties of the Kabul river basin and also water demand in the important cities of the basin, such as Kabul, the capital and the largest city in the country. Also a few suggestions for providing water for domestic and agriculture purposes in short term, medium time and long term have been discussed.

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M. Hassan Hamid, M.Q. Seddeqy: Integrated Water Resources Management in Afghanistan

2010

IWRM in Afghanistan is the integrating concept for a number of water sub-sectors such as hydropower, water supply and sanitation, irrigation ,drainage and environment. An integrated water resources perspective ensures that social, economic, environmental and technical dimensions are taken into account in the management and development of water resources.

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K. Wegerich, O. Olsson, J. Froebrich: Reliving the past in a changed environment: Hydropower ambitions, opportunities and constraints in Tajikistan

2007

In Central Asia, various arguments, ranging from a unifying purpose to political control to conflict potential, have been made about the relationship between downstream water utilisation and the upstream water control infrastructure. This paper analyses the construction and utilisation of the Nurek dam in Tajikistan during and after the break-up of the Soviet Union. The political and socio-economic changes that ensued after independence influenced the utilisation of the water control infrastructure. The new economic reorientation of Tajikistan demanded by the break-up caused concerns to downstream riparian states. The conflict potential is based not on water resource allocation, but on the utilisation of water for energy production, its control and transmission infrastructure. Even though there is conflict potential, the situation could be turned into a win–win situation for all the riparian states.

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K. Wegerich: Hydro-hegemony in the Amu Darya basin

2008

The water allocations in the Amu Darya Basin reflect the colonial legacy of the Soviet Union: the downstream riparian states, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, were utilized to produce cotton while upstream Tajikistan used water for energy production and it was anticipated to increase its reservoir capacity further to provide water storage and facilitate agricultural production downstream, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan were considered simple producers of water without having a real claim to it. Independence manifested inequitable water allocations, giving rise to the perception that especially Uzbekistan is the hydro-hegemon in the Amu Darya Basin. But the post-Soviet basin may be, in fact, without a hydro-hegemon. Data presented in this paper suggest that the riparian states are currently engaged in strategies of resource capture, by increasing their water demand without renegotiating agreements. In addition, while during the Soviet hegemony the increase of reservoir capacity upstream was perceived as ‘integration’ into the larger framework, today the re-emergence of these plans are perceived as a threat. The analysis of different aspects of hydro-hegemony, such as control over data, current discourses and control over provision infrastructure, demonstrates that Uzbekistan's control over the flows is hardly consolidated.

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D. Rycroft, K. Wegerich: The three blind spots of Afghanistan: water flow, irrigation development, and the impact of climate change

2009

The article discusses the three blind spots of northern Afghanistan: water flow, irrigation development, and the impact of climate change. Consideration is given to the different data sets for the current irrigated areas, water resources, and future potentials according to identified projects in northern Afghanistan. The water accounting programme WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning System) has then been applied to estimate the current demands for water as well as the increased demands resulting from climate change.

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K. Wegerich: The Afghan water law: “a legal solution foreign to reality”?

2010

In this article the suggested permit and licence systems included in the draft Afghan Water Law of 2008 (superseding those laws of 1981 and 1991) are examined by comparing them with main canal data from two pilot studies within the Kunduz Basin. The comparison highlights the difficulty of making these proposed legal frameworks operative. Overall, it appears that the sections within the law on permits and licences are not implementable within or even useful for the traditional irrigation systems, but mainly play into the hands of the national hydrocracy and please international donors.

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O. Olsson, M. Ikramova, M. Bauer, J. Froebrich: Applicability of adapted reservoir operation for water stress mitigation under dry year conditions

2010

This paper introduces the conjunctive use of a deterministic water quality model and water balance criteria for supporting the assessment of simulation and to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed operation strategies. By this, the applicability of enhanced reservoir operation strategies addressing both water quality as well as water quantity aspects under water deficit conditions in dry years can be shown. Arguments will be developed to address stakeholders and decision makers in the context of a more conservative past operation regime. Results are presented for the Kaparas reservoir, which is located in the lower Amu Darya River, on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As being one out of four large reservoirs of the Tuyamuyun Hydro Complex, the Kaparas reservoir could be increasingly used for drinking water supply for the lower Amu Darya region. The results for the dry year 2001 indicates that the combination of simulation together with practical assessment criteria confirm the applicability of adapted operation rules for THC reservoirs and ways can be found to supply the local population (of the lower Amu Darya region) with more potable water of higher quality even subject to a parallel reduction of water deficits. Future aggravation of water stress due to increasing population growth and water quality deterioration will require a more comprehensive consideration of water quality aspects in many arid and semi arid regions. The experience gained during this study emphasizes the fact that classical deterministic water quality models provide effective tools to address even more complex water quality problems under water stressed conditions, provided processing of results is performed, to support the decision making process.

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O. Olsson, M. Ikramova, M. Bauer, J. Froebrich: The role of the Amu Darya dams and reservoirs in future water supply in the Amu Darya basin

2008

Central Asia still remains as an area of substantial water stress problems caused by climate change, over-consumption of water resources and soil salinization. The rapid recession of glaciers along with a concurrent increasing frequency and intensity of extreme droughts has led to a progressive reduction of the already scarce resources. As in many other arid and semi-arid zones, surface waters in Central Asia are heavily regulated by extended river-reservoir systems, which affect both the quantity and the quality of water. The large dams and reservoirs of the Amu Darya Basin should not only be a matter of international dispute, but also considered as an option to adapt to climate and global change and to the future water shortage in the region. With the Nurek and Rogun dams in the upstream part of the Amu Darya Basin and the downstream dam system, the Tuyamuyun Hydroengineering Complex, the region already has a high potential for improving the future water supply by adapting the management of the dams according to site specifications. The main scope of this study is to introduce this potential as an applicable instrument for implementing a sustainable water management strategy in the Amu Darya.

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J. Allouche: The governance of Central Asian waters: national interests versus regional cooperation

2007

This article is divided into two parts. First it outlines the main hydrological characteristics of Central Asia and describes the problems of the regional water governance system since independence. It then looks at the water policies of the various players in the region and how these are contributing to the Central Asian water crisis.

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A. Abdullaev, J. Kazbekov, H. Manthritilake, K. Jumaboev: Water user groups in Central Asia: emerging form of collective action in irrigation water management

2010

This paper examines the recent emerging informal Water Users Groups (WUGs) on the Ferghana Valley for managing of the water at the former collective farm level and potential for strengthening of the weak Water Users Associations (WUAs) through replication of WUGs formation. Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central Asian states have introduced reforms in different sectors including the water resources sectors. As a part of the water resources management reforms, Water Users Associations (WUAs) formation has implemented to manage water resources infrastructure and water distribution. WUGs have been emerging because WUAs have not been very efficient and effective due to their top-down implementation approach. In future, WUGs are very effective institutional mechanism of water resources management, and a useful support instrument to WUAs.

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J. Sehring: The Politics of Water Institutional Reform in Neopatrimonial States. A Comparative Analysis of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

2009

In many countries, water institutional reforms (like the establishment of water user associations or the introduction of pricing mechanisms) are conducted in order to achieve more sustainable, efficient, and equitable water usage. Often, however, these reforms do not meet their objectives. Based on a comparative analysis of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, this study highlights the long neglected role of politics. It shows how a neopatrimonial regime context impacts the reform process, focusing on the decision making, the agricultural sector, the local governance institutions, internal water-institutional linkages, and the role of international donor agencies.

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J. Sehring: Path dependencies and institutional bricolage in post-soviet rural water governance

2009

Following their independence, the two Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan decided on similar water governance reforms: transfer of local irrigation management to water user associations, introduction of pricing mechanisms, and establishment of hydrographic management principles. In both states, however, proper implementation is lacking. This paper aims to explain this contradiction and focuses on agricultural water governance reforms at the local level as an interdependent part of a multilevel water governance structure.

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S. Vinogradov, V. Langford: Managing transboundary water resources in the Aral Sea Basin: in search of a solution

2001

This paper examines the complex problems facing the Central Asian republics in the Aral Sea Basin. Confronted with unsustainable economic practices, environmental degradation and serious social problems, the Aral Sea Basin states seek to develop an effective legal and institutional framework for the cooperative management of scarce water resources. Up to date information on the environmental, economic and human conditions in the Aral Sea Basin provides the context for an analysis of efforts to manage transboundary water resources in the Soviet period and among the independent republics. The most recent draft agreements and initiatives among the Aral Sea Basin states are reviewed from the perspective of legal and institutional effectiveness, with reference to the principles of international water law. Finally, recent attempts to meet the needs of all riparians through trade in natural resources are viewed as a promising development. This strategy could provide solutions based on a more holistic approach to natural resources, while recognising the historical, geopolitical and natural characteristics of the region.

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S. Navruzov: On the development of a strategy for the optimal use of the upstream water resources of the Amudarya basin (Tajikistan)

2009

The problems of the use of water resources in Central Asia are investigated by considering the sovereignty of the states and the increasing demand for water for economic development. A complex program is proposed and presented, with appropriate mathematical software, intended to aid in the calculation of the possible alternative strategies for using the Amudarya's upstream water resources to satisfy the apparently incompatible requirements of the national economies in irrigation and energy generation.

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D. Ziganshina: International Water Law in Central Asia: Commitments, Compliance and Beyond

2010

The Central Asia's water related issues include water allocation controversies, competition between irrigation and hydropower, water quality deterioration, environmental degradation, loss of species and biodiversity, climate change, and etc. Having recognized the need to address these problems in a coordinated way, the countries in the region have adopted a number of sub-regional agreements, established new regional institutions, and joined regional and global water treaties. In this article, the author analyzes the role of these treaties in addressing contemporary transboundary water issues of Central Asia.

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W. Rowe: Agrarian adaptations in Tajikistan: land reform, water and law

2010

In Central Asia, agriculture and water management have ranked as the two most important economic activities in this arid environment. These activities gained even more prominence during the Soviet era as planners expanded irrigation into previously marginal land that bolstered their vision that the best land be allocated exclusively for cotton production. In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan has enacted laws meant to expand and clarify land use categories to meet the dual targets of expanding food production within the country while maintaining as much land as possible in cotton production - their economic mainstay. To this end, the Tajik government instituted five categories of land tenure. Though comprehensive, these new dispositions merely mask a continuation of top-down agrarian decision making implemented during the Soviet period. Consequently, this change has created new problems for farm labourers as they struggle to adapt to post-Soviet life and negotiate with the new bureaucracy in the face of 'de-modernization' and the loss of jobs, wages, and in many cases, access to productive land. This research demonstrates that the means by which the Tajik government expanded food production has contributed to agricultural problems apparent at the time of independence.

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S. Vinogradov: Transboundary Water Resources in the Former Soviet Union: Between Conflict and Cooperation

1996

The demise o f the Soviet Union created new international boundaries and, as a result, a host of legal problems related to the management and utilization of natural resources divided by these boundaries. This article surveys the most important transboundary water systems, shared by the former Soviet republics, and examines an emerging legal framework for cooperation, multilateral, regional and bilateral, between them. Although the current approach to the use of transboundary water resources is still influenced by the practices established in the former Soviet Union, there is a tendency towards greater reliance upon international law in addressing water-related issues of common concern.

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S. Hodgson: Strategic water resources in Central Asia: in search of a new international legal order

2010

The aim of this paper is to describe the basic problem and the efforts undertaken both by the Central Asian states and the international community, including the EU, to seek a resolution on the allocation and use of the water resources of Central Asia. It traces recent developments relating to the planned construction of dams, the modification of energy supplies and the periodic issue of increasingly bellicose statements from the capitals of the region. Finally it looks into the challenge for establishing a modern international legal order to govern the region's strategic water resources.

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V. Thomas, A. Osmani, K. Wegerich: Local challenges for IWRM in Afghanistan

2011

Over the past 25 years, there has been a sharp increase in the number and the intensity of use of mills and micro-hydropower units within canal systems in Afghanistan. Before the Soviet occupation, the construction of non-consumptive structures was regulated. Through a case study in one canal along the Taloqan river, the paper shows that an increasing number of poorly designed and badly located structures (including micro-hydropower units) are currently threatening irrigation water availability for downstream areas, as either their unauthorised construction reduce the conveyance capacity of the main canal or their abusive use drains water from the main canal out of the system in its upstream reaches. The article also shows that while relevant initiatives are taken at local and policy level to address the problem, tangible results remain limited owing mainly to limited enforcement capacity.

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The Afghan-Central Asian water cooperation on management of the Amu Darya river: Connecting experts and policymakers in the low lands

2011

This position paper was issued as a result of the one-year process entitled ‘Afghan - Central Asian water cooperation on management of the Amu Darya river: connecting experts and policymakers in the low lands’, organised within the framework of the Development Policy Review Network (DPRN) by the EastWest Institute and Wageningen University. It aims to give an overview of challenges identified in the Amu Darya river basin during this process. It also contains concrete recommendations for regional and international experts and decision makers.

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Capacity development for regional cooperation in the Amu Darya river basin

2011

This document presents one key recommendation that came out of a process of consultations in the context of the Amu Darya Basin Network, part of a one-year project on ‘Afghan-Central Asian water cooperation on management of the Amu Darya river: connecting experts and policymakers in the low lands’, carried out within the framework of the Development Policy Review Network (DPRN).

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Afghanistan food security outlook, July to December 2012

2012

Above-normal precipitation and sufficient irrigation water availability led to Afghanistan’s ongoing 2012 cereal harvest likely being well above average. Extreme northern Badakhshan and the Wakhan Corridor are in an extended lean season until the harvest in September.

This past year has been characterized by higher than normal livestock sales and livestock losses associated with the extremely cold temperatures from November 2011 to May 2012.

In the central highlands, the potato and wheat harvests are expected to be near average. Along with remittances, households should be able to stock sufficient food for winter and spring. However, the delay in harvest caused by cold temperatures in the spring and early summer may limit the amount of fodder grown this year and reduce fodder availability for the winter.

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J.Granita, A.Jagerskoga, A. Lindstroma, G. Bjorklundb, A. Bullocka, R. Lofgrena, G.Gooijera, S.Pettigrewa: Regional Options for Addressing the Water, Energy and Food Nexus in Central Asia and the Aral Sea Basin

2012

This article explores the water, energy and food nexus in Central Asia as an avenue to seek regional solutions to common challenges. A benefit-sharing scheme was in place between the countries in the Central Asia in the Soviet Union era, but since independence unilateral action has been the norm. It is concluded that a regional integrative approach would be beneficial in the water, energy and food nexus. Collaborative options include exploring existing regional frameworks with a focus on additional investment in hydropower power generation, regional power market development, irrigation reforms, and addressing regional environmental public goods such as water flows and quality.

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V. Stucki, K. Wegerich, M. Mizanur Rahaman, O. Varis: Water and Security in Central Asia - Solving a Rubik's Cube

2012

Central Asia is a vast and resource-rich region, yet, many living there experience periodic water scarcity. A special edition of the International Journal of Water Resources Development explores the water security challenges facing Central Asian states and their people.

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A.H.H. Abidi: Irano-Afghan Dispute over the Helmand Waters

1977

The Irano-Afghan problem, which is more than a century old, is a product of the interplay of a variety of physiographical, geographical, historical, political, and economic factors.

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S. Tavva, M. Abdelali-Martini, A. Aw-Hassan, B. Rischkowsky, M. Tibbo, J. Rizvi: Gender Roles in Agriculture: The Case of Afghanistan

2013

Technological interventions aiming to improve livelihoods that bring gender equity can become successful only when the prevailing gender roles in society and access to different livelihood opportunities are fully understood. This article analyses gender roles in agriculture in the conservative patriarchal society of Afghanistan. Rapid appraisal was conducted through focus group interviews, participatory resource mapping, and so on, in seven villages each from Nangarhar and Baghlan provinces of Afghanistan. Educated women coordinators, facilitators and activists and well established womens’ groups were used to reach and target key women informants as they are not allowed to interact directly with male researchers. Their participation was more in livestock related activities. The study indicated that women’s involvement was less than men’s in both livestock and crop related activities. Age, social stigmas, poverty and shortage of labour influence the gender division of labour, decision-making ability and participation in Afghanistan’s farm and non-farm activities. This indicates that any agricultural development programme intending to involve women will be effective only if it has a large component of livestock related activities.

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D. Reich, C. Pearsoni: Irrigation Outreach in Afghanistan: Exposure to Afghan Water Security Challenges

2012

The authors, from Colorado State University were invited by the United Sates Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service and Afghanistan’s Ministry for Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock to lead a “train-the-trainer” workshop with Afghanistan’s best and brightest irrigation outreach professionals. The six day workshop on the outskirts of Kabul helped clarify that prolonged conflict has damaged agriculture’s access to what should be a plentiful supply of irrigation water. The violence of two wars still lingers today continuing to inhibit foreign aid’s ability to rebuild Afghanistan’s water resources infrastructure. In spite of these challenges participants in the workshop demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and courage helping producers throughout Afghanistan take advantage of improvements as they came online. With continued assistance from Western researchers and extension professionals that is sensitive to the traditional methods of water administration, there is reason to be hopeful for the future success of Afghanistan’s agricultural sector.

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M. Vick: Sharing Central Asia’s Waters: The Case of Afghanistan

2013

The economic viability of Afghanistan depends on protection from floods and drought, adequate domestic supply, reliable irrigation, and power. All can be advanced through water-sharing agreements with neighboring states.

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P. Hanasz: The Politics of Water Security in the Kabul River Basin

2011

The simmering water conflict between Afghanisation and Pakistan is rarely noted. Water shortage and mismanagement in this region contributes to geopolitical upheaval. Afghanistan and Pakistan should seek formalised bi-lateral cooperation for technical information exchanges, flow monitoring, and water planning. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 serves as an example for future transboundary water management policies between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Failure to codify shared water management principles between the two countries, could exacerbate socio-political tension in the region

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A. Qazi: Afghanistan's Water Resources and Pollution

2008

The reduction and loss of Afghanistan's glaciers, drought, war related damage to the irrigation systems it does have, poor management, waste, pollution, and the fact that over 80% of Afghans are engaged in agriculture and livestock-raising, makes the country extremely susceptible to water shortages.

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M.W. Ibrahimzada, D. Sharma: Vulnerability assessment of water resources in Amu Darya river basin, Afghanistan

2012

The Amu Darya is the biggest river basin in Central Asia shared by Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Vulnerability assessment of water resources in Amu Darya River Basin was estimated using the methodology developed by UNEP and Peking University, China. The Vulnerability Index of Amu Darya River Basin, falls in (0.53) value which indicate that the Amu Darya River Basin is under high stress of water resources. Ecological insecurity contributes most to the water resources vulnerability. In order to mitigate the stress, it is recommended to develop policy to mitigate the stress and develop long term strategic plan with focus on capacity building to manage the water resources.

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M. Mahmoudzadeh Varzi, K. Wegerich: Much Ado About Nothing – Sub-Basin Working Groups in Kunduz River Basin, Afghanistan

2008

This chapter critically evaluates ongoing processes within preliminary sub-basin working groups in the Kunduz river basin. These working groups were set up in the context of Afghan water management reforms. The reforms aim to promote integrated water resource management and user participation in decision making. It is shown that the working groups are very far from their official aim of introducing a decision-making role for participants in the Kunduz sub-basins. To date, three years after formation of the working groups, meetings are more influenced by outside agendas. Even the invited stakeholders do not represent all the stakeholders of the basin but rather the stakeholders within local-level project sites.

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S. Mahmood Mahmoodi: Integrated Water Resources Management for Rural Development and Environmental Protection in Afghanistan

2008

The new Water Law focuses on stakeholders’ participation in water management, equitable water allocation, and division of tasks at national, basin and sub-basin level including participation of all stakeholders in decision making. Based on new Water Sector Policy and Water Resources Sub- Sector, Integrated Water Resource Management is carried out through the river basin approach; the objective of IWRM is to decentralize the activities gradually to river basins and sub basins and considerable use of water resources.

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F. Aminjonov: Afghanistan’s energy security. Tracing Central Asian countries’ contribution

2017

This paper explores the extent to which the energy-rich Central Asian countries can contribute towards enhancing energy security in Afghanistan. Taking up this question, the author focuses on three aspects of Afghanistan’s energy security priorities where Central Asian countries can play a role: (a) a source for stable electricity supply, (b) Afghanistan’s transformation into an energy self-sufficient country, and (c) Afghanistan’s development as a transit hub between Central and South Asia.

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T.J. Mack, M.P. Chornack, and I.M. Verstraeten: Sustainability of Water Supply at Military Installations, Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

2016

The Kabul Basin, including the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, is host to several military installations of Afghanistan, the United States, and other nations that depend on groundwater resources for water supply. These installations are within or close to the city of Kabul. Groundwater also is the potable supply for the approximately 4 million residents of Kabul. The sustainability of water resources in the Kabul Basin is a concern to military operations and Afghan water-resource managers owing to increased water demands from a growing population and potential mining activities. This study illustrates the use of chemical and isotopic analysis, groundwater flow modeling, and hydrogeologic investigations to assess the sustainability of groundwater resources in the Kabul Basin.

Water supplies for military installations in the southern Kabul Basin were found to be subject to sustainability concerns, such as the potential drying of shallow-water supply wells as a result of declining water levels. Model simulations indicate that new withdrawals from deep aquifers may have less of an impact on surrounding community water supply wells than increased withdrawals from near-surface aquifers. Higher rates of recharge in the northern Kabul Basin indicate that military installations in that part of the basin may have fewer issues with long-term water sustainability. Simulations of groundwater withdrawals may be used to evaluate different withdrawal scenarios in an effort to manage water resources in a sustainable manner in the Kabul Basin.

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E. Hayat, S. Elci: Adopting a Strategic Framework for Transboundary Water Resources Management in Afghanistan

2017

This paper is proposing an initial framework for the transboundary water resources management in Afghanistan. The current issues with the neighbouring countries are mentioned here so that to solve these shared water conflicts through peaceful talks in a specific framework.

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D. Yildiz: Afghanistan’s Transboundary Rivers and Regional Security

2017

Development of Afghanistan’s most transboundary water resources is a vital need for its own national interest, but it is also directly related with a transboundary water management dispute issue in the region. In other words, Afghanistan should find the best way to develop its transboundary water resources for national development as well as peace and stability of the region. But this development won't be so easy if current amount of water use of riparian states will be same when Afghanistan plans to release smaller amount of water.

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A. Zaryab, A. Reza Noori, K. Wegerich, B. Klove: Assessment of water quality and quantity trends in Kabul aquifers with an outline for future drinking water supplies

2017

The water supply to Kabul city is at serious risk due to groundwater over abstraction and severe contamination by sewage. The water overuse is partly due to poor management and a long period of war, and instability in Afghanistan. In recent years shallow wells have been installed and financed by aid programmes, but this, along with high population increase has also lead to over-use of groundwater resources. The current water supply of about 85% inhabitants depends exclusively on local, individual groundwater sources, obtained predominantly from shallow aquifers, mainly, by hand-pumps. The paper analyses the status and trends of the Kabul groundwater system and assesses new solutions to meet the future water supply demand. The status of groundwater shows that groundwater levels are declining quickly (1 m/year) and several wells are already dry. Moreover, water quality analyses of the Kabul aquifers show a negative trend in groundwater quality in respect to concentration of nitrates, borates and faecal microbes (indicated by the coliform bacteria). This pollution exceeds the maximum permissible values determined by the WHO. To provide new solutions for Kabul city, a master plan for future water resources has been developed and this is further discussed.

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A. Zaryab, M.I. Najaf, M.Z. Jamal: Analysis of engineering properties of rock mass of Shah-wa-Arus dam site, Kabul, Afghanistan

2019

The Shah-wa-Arus dam is currently being constructed on the Shakardara River, approximately 22 km to the north west of Kabul City, Afghanistan. The height and length of the dam are 77.5 m and 303 m, respectively, and the storage capacity of the dam is estimated around 9.38 million cubic meter. The type of the dam is rollercompacted concrete (RCC). It is a multi-purpose dam, designed to store water for irrigation, to mitigate flooding and generate electricity. The dam is located within a tectonically active zone, and the dam site has been strongly affected by tectonic activity. The paper presents results of comparison rock quality designation (RQD) and Lugeon parameters, based on a review and analysis of initial engineering-geological studies and additional field observations. The results of Lugeon and RQD were statistically evaluated in graphs and by using comparison of these graphs with all other conditions as of natural of this particular site. The obtained results show which state of the natural conditions is somehow a meaningful relationship between a Lugeon unit and RQD parameters. Finally, the rock mass of the dam foundation site is classified in accordance with the RMR classification.

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A. Zaryab, S.J. Japarkhanov: State assessment of rocks in foundation and boards of Shah-wa-Arus Dam using modern techniques

2018

Shah-wa-Arus Dam is currently being built on Shakardara river, in northwest of Kabul province, 22 km from Kabul city, Afghanistan. The dam is erected using roller compacted concrete (RCC), its height is 77.5 m. The dam is multipurpose, designed for irrigation water storage, mitigation of floods and energy generation. The dam is located in active tectonic zone, and tectonic activity has a very significant effect on the state of its foundation and boards. The rocks are highly-fractured in this region. For such critical facility, detailed study of the state of rock masses is of great importance and a detailed survey was conducted for this purpose. This article presents a state assessment of dam site rocks according to DMR classification, based on the overview of complete geotechnical investigations and complementary field observations made by the authors.

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F. Sadeqinazhad, S. S. Atef, D. M. Amatya: Benefit-sharing framework in transboundary river basins: the case of the Eastern Kabul River Basin-Afghanistan

2018

This research explores the benefit of collaboration between the littoral countries beyond water allocation and sharing as a theoretical framework that would be a useful tool for extending Afghanistan and Pakistan cooperation for a sustainable improvement and development of the Kabul River Basin (KRB). The main goal is to highlight the concept of benefit sharing and its framework in general terms as well as in the context of KRB. The basin planning and water transboundary issues could greatly be changed in accordance with this theoretical framework, leading the game from a zero sum to a positive sum. In addition to that, it potentially results in avoidance of conflicts and pave the ground for a motivated cooperation. Mutual cooperation can bring more water for sustainable use in the basin, reducing soil erosion, mitigating drought, and ensuring food security. The findings of this study have shown that the benefits of water sharing in transboundary river basins are, mainly, due to co-riparian states’ collaborative efforts to decrease the expenses and increase the outcomes. The impacts of joint investments in both states can yield a bundle of benefits including, but not limited to, flood control, reduction of sedimentation, availability of more water and hydropower production. The points mentioned above, in turn, can also ensure food security, mitigate drought, and avail renewable energy. In transboundary rivers all attempts and efforts should be geared towards identifying the typologies of benefits, aspects of benefits, scenarios of benefits, and the optimization/maximization of benefits.

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J.A. Naser Shokory, J. Giorgos Tsutsumi, H. Yamada, B. Klove: Intra-seasonal Variation of Rainfall and Climate Characteristics in Kabul River Basin

2017

In Afghanistan, spring and summertime flash floods result in 54.3% of all natural disasters with an average annual economic loss of US$92.17 million between 1990 and 2014. Knowledge of climate and rainfall periodicity are urgently needed for urban and rural land use and infrastructure planning, and their flood protection. In this study, the Thornthwaite equation was used to determine the seasonal characteristics of dry and wet periods. Spectral Analysis of precipitation was carried out to search for periodicities and intraseasonal oscillations of rainfall within the Kabul River Basin. The analysis is based on data obtained from 49 ground-base stations with threeparameters (precipitation, relative humidity, and temperature) for an 8-year (2006-2013) and 5-year (2009-2013) record. Five years weather maps made from JRA-55 (55 year Japan Reanalysis data) were used to recognize the moisture trajectory in each season.The results indicated that Kabul River Basin is divided into three parts with distinct climate regions as Central, Northern, and Eastern parts. The Weather maps of relative humidity with wind arrows showed the origins and pathways of air masses leading toheavy rainfall from the Arabian Sea and the Caspian Sea approaching from the west and northwest of Afghanistan in winter and spring season, corresponding to 10-day spectral peaks. In summer and autumn, influences of South Asian summer monsoon were recognized by 6-8 days of oscillation with different density in each station, where it was much significant in the Eastern part.

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S. Momin Nori: Challenges of transboundary water governance in Afghanistan

2020

Afghanistan has five major river basins which four of them are transboundary and shared with Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian Countries (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan). Transboundary water governance and bilateral or regional agreements and cooperation with riparian countries have always been challenging for Afghanistan. Continuous war and insecurity left a fragile governance system in Afghanistan. Lack of human capacity in terms of policy making and strategic planning and weak economy in one hand and the limited hydrometeorological data and technical knowledge about Water management on the other hand, alienated Afghanistan from all cooperative frameworks on Amu Darya River and two other its major river basins. In this paper, the initiatives and plans which have been implemented by the Afghan Government and international community for enhancing human capacity and hydro-meteorological data acquisition for developing a suitable mechanism for managing transboundary waters for the purpose of economic growth of Afghanistan and regional cooperation on transboundary water between Afghanistan and riparian countries have been analyzed. However, several challenges still exit in terms of water management in Afghanistan to be tackled in. The challenges which Afghanistan has been experiencing in last forty years in water governance sector based on academic and policy literatures being reviewed and some solutions for overcoming the challenges are provided. In conclusion, steps and measures which further needed to be put forward by the Afghan government and international community to reach a regional cooperation framework on transboundary waters between Afghanistan and other riparian countries are proposed.

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M. Hamid Hamdard, I. Soliev, L. Xiong, B. Klove: Drinking water quality assessment and governance in Kabul: A case study from a district with high migration and underdeveloped infrastructure

2020

The main aim of this paper is to analyze the characteristics of the drinking water quality in Kabul city and identify its suitability for drinking. During the work, a total of 60 water samples were collected from four drinking water sources (qanat, open well, tap water, and a hand pump) located at different points and were tested for physical, chemical, and biological parameters. Physical and chemical analyses were performed according to the standard methods, while a bacterial analysis was performed by using the Wagtech Potatest single incubator test kit and membrane filter method. The results obtained were compared with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Afghanistan’s National Standards Administration (ANSA). The study showed that physical parameters were within acceptable limits for qanat, open well, and tap waters. However, color, taste, odor, and turbidity values exceeded the recommended limits for hand pump wells. All analyzed chemical parameters were within permissible limits recommended by WHO/ANSA. The bacteriological analysis showed total coliform and fecal coliform contamination, particularly in warm weather conditions. The bacteriological contamination reveals the mixing of the sewage water with drinking water due to expired corroded pipes and discharge of wastewater to the groundwater. Several governance recommendations are proposed for improving water quality. They include strengthening coordination between government and public, considering options to install a new water distribution and sewage collection networks, enforcing standards for adequately preventing contamination from septic tanks, and increasing public awareness on low-cost measures such as boiling the drinking water before intake.

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Azami A., Sagin J., Sadat S.H., Hejran H.: Sustainable Irrigation: Karez System in Afghanistan

2020

In Afghanistan, water is mostly used for agricultural purposes. The water supply chain requires updating to en-sure its sustainability. Different irrigation methods – such as surface water based irrigation (via canals), groundwater based irrigation, and the Karez irrigation system – are applied across the country. Considering the compatibility of the Karez system with the environment, it can be deemed the most effective irrigation scheme, as it allows collecting a significant amount of groundwater and conveying it to land surface via sub-horizontal tun-nels using gravity. This article analyzes Afghanistan’s Karez irrigation systems currently feeding water to over 170,000 ha of farmland with a potential to expand and become a component of sustainable water supply chain.

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Mayar M.A., Asady H., Nelson J. River flow analyses for flood projection in the Kabul River Basin

2020

Flooding is one of the critical natural disasters in Afghanistan, causing huge social and economic losses on an annual basis. Due to lack of historical data and long gaps in the recorded data, flood predictions are usually associated with large uncertainties. The available hydrological data are collected before and after the Afghan civil war period. This long gap and climate change effects split the dataset and faces a challenge of using either dataset alone for predicting flood characteristics. In this study, first, the two datasets are compared to find river flow variation in terms of peak and frequency. Next, the river flow variation effects on flood peaks for each return period are analyzed to determine the flood projection. The results show that flood peaks have raised while the mean discharge in the basin is reduced during the second period. The frequency analyses show a change in high and low flow days in the recent period. In addition, the flood recurrence results show that the utilization of single period data for return period flood predictions yield huge variation, while the analyses using the combined dataset show a reasonable estimation of flood characteristics. Furthermore, the comparison of calculated flood peaks based on the first period and combined dataset show that flood peaks have an upward trend.

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Shams A.K., Muhammad N.S. Toward sustainable water resources management: critical assessment on the implementation of integrated water resources management and water–energy–food nexus in Afghanistan

2021

Afghanistan has abundant water resources; however, the current state of affairs is dismal because of the lack of integrated water resources management (IWRM) practices and prolonged war and conflict in the country. Therefore, there is a need for a systematic approach to water management, which can be materialized by integrating IWRM and the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus approach to maintain a critical balance of available water resources and their various uses at the national level. This study provides a comprehensive assessment of Afghanistan’s water resource management, including the current state, challenges, opportunities, and way forward. The identified challenges are categorized as social and environmental issues, engineering and technical and regulatory, policy and government role. These challenges are inter-connected and a novel framework toward the implementation of IWRM and the WEF nexus in Afghanistan is proposed. This framework can be used by the relevant stakeholders to prepare a roadmap for sustainable management of water resources. Such integrative approaches will enhance Afghanistan’s water, food, and energy security and significantly contribute to its economic development. Moving forward, the Afghanistan government must play a crucial role with regards to the efficient management of the country’s water resources in an integrated manner as suggested in this paper.

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Mahaqi A. Traditional Water Management Systems in Afghanistan; Lessons for the Future

2021

As far as the Afghans could remember, water resources management was a fundamental part of their life. They learned through history to administer the available water supplies to deal with their environment’s challenges. Also, climate change intensities the problems at present. The Afghan communities by using techniques and rules could manage the water. Mir Ab is the person, administering the water distribution systems and works along with local communities to regulate water effciently and fairly. Mir Ab controls the systems such as karezes, canals, and wells which has important role in different places around Afghanistan based on their geographical settings. Firstly, Kareze plays a critical role in water management and consisted of multiple shafts and main inclined tunnel to bring subsurface water to the surface. Secondly, Canals brings waters to the areas where are rather close to main rivers. Thirdly, wells used in most area and the common one, traditionally, they provide drinking water for societies. Understanding the traditional water supplies facilities in the country remind Afghan people that water is highly valuable commodity, and then the current water associated offcials should pay more attention and do their best to manage it. The main goal of this work is highlighting the importance of water for our ancestors, while it ignored significantly by current Government of Afghanistan. Besides, providing a guideline map to look forward and applying right strategies. In short, we hope this paper remind those who are responsible in this field to value the importance of water in Afghanistan.

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Shroder J.F., Eqrar N., Waizy H., Ahmadi H., Weihs B.J. Review of the Geology of Afghanistan and its Water Resources

2021

Afghanistan comprises a collage of many lithotectonic domains sutured together as block terranes on the southern Eurasian Plate by collisional tectonics throughout the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic. Kabul basement rocks are fragments of an Archean block stabilized in early Precambrian with two later metamorphic events correlating well with global-scale orogenies related to assembly of the Paleoproterozoic Columbia and Neoproterozoic Rodinia supercontinents. These collisional tectonics were followed by igneous episodes and production of multiple ophiolite suites divided into three orogenic episodes of the later Paleozoic (Devonian – Permian) Variscan (Hercynian) Orogeny, the Mesozoic (Triassic – Early Cretaceous) Cimmerian Orogeny, and the dominantly Cenozoic (Late Cretaceous – Quaternary) Himalayan (Alpine) Orogeny. Variscan, Cimmerian, and Himalayan accreted blocks are separated by prominent suture and fault zones, several of which are active and a source of considerable seismic hazard, especially in eastern Afghanistan. This resulting melange of small exotic blocks was brought about by a rifting series of narrow ribbon terranes from the Gondwana coast of the Paleotethys and Neotethys seaways. Recent revival of Afghan-led geological lithologic and geochemical assessments has led to new interpretations of tectonic history, as well as of vital surface and groundwater, and other natural resources. Recurrent droughts have decreased water supplies, which have undergone extensive contamination, along with uncontrolled over-pumping of aquifers. Increasing attention to the rich mineral resource base in the country offers solutions to chronic budgetary shortfalls.

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