Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 15th, 2020

The Underground Waters Reduction Worries Kabul Residents

Despite many social and political issues, the reduction of underground water is a long growing issue in the country, especially in Kabul city. According to reports, the water table has unprecedentedly dropped in Kabul which resulted thousands of settlements and farms face sever water shortage.  Few years ago, every family could access water through their 20 meter deep wells in Kabul but now it has reached up to 200 meters while there is no program to prevent it from the rising issue. Based on technical reports, annually around 22 meter of Kabul underground water is dropping. The experts emphasize that the problem is extremely worrisome and if the situation continues – with people using too much water – the water resources will farther drop. Therefore, the reduction of underground waters enumerated as an intensifying challenge needs to comprehensive program to prevent the growing the issues.
The blamable factors behind the issue consists of climate change, lack of green area, increasing population and poor water management and more importantly water wastage. Though it is hard to have control over climate changes but it is possible to increase the green area, improve the water management and prevent from wastage of water. The fact is that there is no serious supervision over the water wells in Kabul city. The depth of drinking water wells reached from 20m to around 200 m and those who are in a good economic condition digs up to 200 meter personal wells and consume water as much as they wish regardless of what is going on in their neighborhood. As a result, thousands of wells have been sunk in Kabul city while the numbers of population are increasing due to unemployment, security issues and other internal displacement factors.
In urban area, the majority of the people get its water from wells and storage tanks while collecting water is most often a hard task assigned to women and children, usually girls. In some areas of the city they walk miles to find water and then carry it back in large, heavy containers. In some parts of city, the usual method of collecting and carrying water is with hand which is really difficult job, especially for children arduous and tiring. Globally, around 68% of Afghan has not access to clean water system and most of the farms severely affected by water shortage. So, the government and humanitarian community should act quickly to ensure this does not degenerate into farther disasters. However, the national unity government has paid some attention in building water infrastructure but there is need for more investment and follow up.
In rural area, almost 90% of Afghan people use water through traditional streams while in other countries water is distributed through pipelines. As a result, nearly 50% of water is wasted through traditional raceways. Accordingly, many people do not use it thriftily while others are suffering from its shortage. As experts believe, if the situation continues in this way, by 2030 we will face a lack of water in our river basins and we will also face shortage in underground water.  However, the issue which is raised now, follows several decades of steady droughts across Afghanistan’s northern, northeastern, central and western provinces which already led to a large-scale of food crisis but now it is the high time to take a strategic action.
Overall, the shortage of water is a great challenge in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul while the water of Afghanistan is a great capital provided that we can manage it properly. To reach this point, the government needs to invest in water infrastructure throughout the country, and devise an efficient plan. It should be emphasized that water sources should be distributed through pipelines and needs clusters of water tanks to be constructed in different areas to provide drinking water. Additionally, a new research is needed to form a collective diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of current river basin management practices in Kabul city. This would help ensure future plans for action are rooted in a realistic assessment of the current situation and add practical value where it’s.
However, in previous years, the government of Afghanistan informed the people of some good programs such as construction of a water dam in vicinity of Kabul, but the practical process of this program is too much slow or remained on the paper only. For example the foundation of the Shah-wa-Arous dam project was laid in 2010 but it has not completed yet. If the project was timely implemented a great part of problem was eliminated from Kabul city. The Shah-wa-Arous dam was supposed to have the capacity of 30 million meter water and hopefully it may satisfy a large part of part of the Kabul needs. However, the implementation of large social and economic projects needs the people’s support and the people should contribute in implementation of such projects and should not forget their responsibility in this regard. Now, the people are well-aware about the catastrophe of waters in Kabul city but they are careless about its uses.
Therefore, both people and government should try their bests to do their respective responsibilities. People should be cautious about water consumption as well as refrained from putting their rubbish everywhere in the city. On the other hand, the government should create a comprehensive strategy to prevent the future water crisis which may challenge the whole country, especially Kabul residents. In the other words, the government needs to develop comprehensive plans to control Afghanistan’s waters and these plans should be implemented in the framework of a clear water policy.