The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Water resources management; a vital factor for economic growth

Afghanistan is a landlocked country of about 65 million hectares. It is characterized by a rugged mountainous landscape, and scattered human settlements. The economy of the country is based on agricultural products and livestock. The majority of the rural population is small subsistence farmers who live on small plots of land. Therefore, the management of water resources is a vital factor for economic growth and to meet the people’s needs for food and fiber. With the Islamic Emirate takeover in mid-August 2021, efforts have been made for the management of the country’s water resources. In the past two and half years, construction work has been started on some dams in the country. It is now time that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) should go for management of the country’s water resources. It is the right of Afghanistan to manage its water resources by building small and major dams in the country. Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar in his most recent trip to Herat has inau gurated the remaining construction work on the Pashdan dam in the province. The Pashdan dam is situated 20 kilometers east of Herat City in Karokh district. Work on the project was launched by the previous government and was expected to be completed in three years. Mullah Beradar said at the inaugural ceremony that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was committed to managing natural resources for the development and self-sufficiency of the country. This shows that the Islamic Emirate is committed to managing the country’s water resources and it is time to manage as water resources management is vital for the country’s economic growth. The Islamic Emirate has already carried out a comprehensive assessment of all incomplete dams in the country. There are hopes that the remaining work on the incomplete dams will be soon resumed under a well-thoughtout plan. Previously, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership, under the directive of the Supreme Leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, had announced plans to build a major dam in the Khashrod district, in Nimruz Province, in order to better manage water resources in the country’s west. Construction work on the project costing some two billion AFG was determined to be started. The proposed dam wall would reach a height of 50 meters and would be capable of holding approximately 60 million cubic meters of water. Afghanistan has both surface water and groundwater resources. The country’s surface water resources can be highly seasonal, and availability can vary significantly across Afghanistan. Water stress is moderate as approximately 55 percent of freshwater resources are withdrawn and the annual per capita freshwater availability is slightly high. Snowmelt during the late spring and summer is key to replenishing water resources, particularly for major rivers in the east and northeast. Water is scarce in the deserts and steppes throughout the south and west. The Hindu Kush’s glaciers are melting due to rising temperatures caused by climate change. This is reducing a natural water storage mechanism that protects against drought in the Amu Darya and Kabul River Basins. Higher evaporation rates caused by warmer temperatures will significantly reduce water availability over the course of the century. Afghanistan manages its surface waters through five basins: Kabul, Helmand, Harirud-Murghab, Northern, and Amu Darya. The Hindu Kush Mountains form the headwaters of all river basins. Most basins conclude their flows in low-lying deserts, wetlands, or inland lakes and seas. However, the Kabul River, which is a tributary of the Indus River, drains to the Arabian Sea. The Kabul and Amu Darya River Basins contain 83 percent of surface water. The Amu Darya River Basin includes several small lakes, including the Chaqmaqtin and Zorkul in the Wakhan Corridor and Lake Shiva in the north. The Amu Darya River is one of the longest and most important rivers in Central Asia, with Afghanistan contributing 15 percent of its total flow. The Amu Darya River is also vital to regional agriculture and historically sustained the Aral Sea. The Band-e Amir Lakes are located west of Kabul in the Kabul Basin. The Helmand River is the longest in Afghanistan and flows almost 800 miles before reaching the Hamun Wetlands along the border with Iran. The Helmand Basin also contains brackish lakes and wetlands, including the Nawur and Abe Istada and Gowd-eZerrah and also the Harirud and Murghab Rivers (Harirud Murghab Basin) flow into desert oases in Turkmenistan. Javed

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.