The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghanistan committed to Helmand River Water Treaty of 1351, Ministry of Water and Energy

The spokesman for the Ministry of Water and Energy MoWE Matiullah Abid, affirmed Afghanistan’s adherence to the Helmand water treaty. “We have allocated water to Iran based on the Helmand River Water Treaty of 1351 (solar year), and we are committed to the treaty in the future as well,” Abid said. During a government board meeting, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi issued directives to high-ranking officials, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Energy of the country, to seriously pursue the Helmand water treaty issue, Iranian media reported The Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, in an interview with Iran’s IRIB TV3, said that he hopes the issue of the Helmand water treaty will be resolved in the current year. “The amount of water that entered our soil from Afghanistan was not more than about 27 million cubic meters. It occurred in several phases of water release. There is a significant gap and disparity between the number mentioned in the treaty and what actually happened,” he said. However, some water analysts believe Iran demands more water than its rightful share. Meanwhile, Afghanistan needs more water since the groundwater levels in the country have dropped. On the other hand, persistent droughts and increasing seasonal floods have led to the people of Afghanistan facing water scarcity. “If the water production in Helmand River reaches nearly six billion cubic meters in a year, then Iran deserves 820 million cubic meters of water. However, if it is not a normal year and there is a drought, then the water is provided based on the available amount,” said Mohammad Asim Mayar, a water analyst. It is worth noting that water is an essential and irreplaceable substance for life. On the other hand, the rapid advancement of humanity from the 20th century onwards has led to an increase in population and, consequently, in demand for water and food. On the other hand, climate change has caused unprecedented water scarcity crises in parts of the world. From 1950 to 1990, due to staggering population growth and economic development, the water demand increased. Meanwhile, the United Nations declared March 22 as World Water Day to foster global engagement in combating climate change and promoting efficient water utilization. On March 22 of the current year, the United Nations announced that over two billion individuals lack access to safe potable water, and numerous regions across the globe, including North Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia, are facing with acute water crises. The Helmand River Water Treaty was signed in 1351 (1972) between Kabul and Tehran by Musa Shafiq and Amir Abbas Hoveyda, the prime ministers of their respective countries at that time. According to this treaty, Afghanistan shall provide Iran with 26 cubic meters of water per second during a year with normal water. According to statistics provided by the World Resources Institute, Afghanistan and its surrounding regions will face severe water crises until 2040. Rapid population growth, excessive water consumption, drought, climate change, and decreasing precipitation are among the primary reasons for water scarcity crises in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries. Furthermore, surface water resources are not evenly distributed since many regions, such as Europe and North America, are not facing a serious water problem, whereas Central and South Asian countries, as well as African nations, struggle with the challenge of water scarcity and lack of access to safe water. Consequently, water disputes in these countries are intensifying, and governments have prioritized the water issue in their agendas. Shukria Kohistan

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.