70pc of Afghanistan’s water flows into neighboring countries
KABUL (Pajhwok): A senior Ministry of Water and Energy official on Monday said nearly 70 percent of Afghanistan’s water flowed into neighboring countries especially Pakistan and Iran due to improper management.
Abdul Basir Azimi, deputy minister for finance and administrative affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Water, told this at a gathering organized by ‘Mahmood Tarzi’ foundation for assessing the country’s water resources at the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan.
Azimi said the country’s water resources were estimated to be 75 billion cubic-metres --- 57 billion cubic-metres in the form of surface water and 18 billion CM groundwater.
According to Azimi, currently one-third of the country’s water was used inside the country but the remaining flowed into neighboring Pakistan and Iran.
He said the unity government had adopted a programme to manage the overall water resources and the government was making efforts to construct hydropower dams and direct the water flow towards agricultural lands.
“The overall management of water means managing it in provinces and villages and taking into account people’s opinions. We want to manage the five river basins to get the maximum use.”
He said currently in total 1400 megawatts of electricity was consumed in the country, with 25 percent (350mgw) produced from water resources and the remaining provided by foreign countries.
Azimi said if water resources of the country were properly managed and controlled, Afghanistan could produce 31,000 mw of power.
Latif Nazari, a university professor and regional affairs analyst, in his speech to the gathering expressed concern over the lack of proper management and control of national water resources.
For a better usage of the country’s water, a strategy should be devised and implemented and the ground for investments should be paved in this regard, he said.
“The country’s great water resources haven’t been used, the way it should be, to produce energy, instead the Afghan government pays huge sums to purchase power from other countries. If the government takes a step by constructing new hydropower dams, it would not only fulfill domestic need, power can be exported to other countries.”
Afghanistan could even sell its water flow to neighboring countries, which needed it, and use the money on management and control of water resources and on agricultural development and poverty reduction, he suggested.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Afghanistan has about 9,600,000 hectares of arable land, of which 2,100,000 hectares is being irrigated.
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