The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghanistan’s water resources: An opportunity for development

Part III

Natural resources in a land represent hidden treasures that, if managed properly, undoubtedly serve as catalysts for economic growth and development. However, if the government neglects or shows indifference towards managing these resources, not only will the opportunity for economic growth and development be lost, but gradually, the unmanaged resources will become targets for exploitation by other territories, leading to internal insecurity and darkness in foreign relations. It would be reasonable to attribute one of the causes of insecurity and tensions in Afghanistan to the result of improper management of the country’s natural resources. To ensure the proper and accurate management of Afghanistan’s water resources as a pathway to development, the first step is to precisely identify these water resources and river basins. How many water resources are available? Where do they originate, and ultimately, where do they flow? What are the potential uses along the watercourse in the national territory? What factors contribute to increases in specific regions, and ultimately, what are the region’s needs for these river basins? What measures need to be taken to utilize these water resources as a tradable commodity outside Afghanistan? Without identifying water resources and river basins, any plan, policy, initiative, or law is merely ineffective rhetoric and will not yield results. Therefore, the government, led by a special commission with the Ministry of Water and Energy, must identify these resources and river basins. The government should conduct a countrywide survey of all water resources and river basins in Afghanistan. The result of this survey should reveal the extent to which water is exported annually from Afghanistan, the amount of available water, and the percentage of it used for drinking purposes. What percentage is utilized for agriculture, and what percentage can be converted into energy? This survey can make us vigilant in utilizing water resources effectively, enabling us to accurately assess our capacity. Without such a precise view, we may later deceive ourselves about our weaknesses and encounter irreparable problems. Activating the drinking water purification system can put an end to future drinking water crises and allow us to have a positive impact on the export of potable water. The government must prevent the outflow of water by constructing and rehabilitating dams and water diversion structures. If water is exported from Afghanistan, it must be regulated according to a specific protocol. Exporting water beyond borders should either occur through barter trade or at fair market prices to generate wealth while meeting internal needs. These water structures should not only serve as places for preserving and managing water but also be considered as revenue-generating sources. The growth of the aquaculture industry, electricity generation, and utilizing water for producing other forms of energy are examples of optimal utilization. In this regard, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should develop and adapt appropriate schemes for generating wealth from water resources. Utilizing water resources and managing river basins can be a significant opportunity for Afghanistan to use its water resources domestically, foster agricultural prosperity, generate wealth from its water resources, and free itself from dependency on other governments. Firooz Ahmad Ebrahimi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.