Residents concerned as groundwater wells run dry in Farah
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): Most wells in western Farah province have gone dry, causing an shortage of water, officials say, warning residents may be displaced if Bakhshabad dam is not constructed soon.
Eng. Abdul Zahir Ishaqzai, zonal director of Farah Rud River Authority, told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of groundwater wells in the provincial capital and districts had dried up, causing serious problems for people.
Groundwater levels have gone down in recent years, but the problem had become alarming over the past two months, he said, linking it to the use of water for irrigation purposes. “There are predictions that Farah will run out of water in the next eight to 10 years if the government does not control the situation,” Ishaqzai added.
“If the groundwater slumps by another two metres this year, it will fall by four metres in 2017, forcing us to dig up some deep wells in Farah and people would wait hours for their turn to fetch water to their homes,” he explained.
Groundwater level could not be reached in Bakwa district even if a hundred metres well was dug up, the director pointed out, insisting on the construction of Bakhshabad dam in Bala Baluk to arrest declining water levels.
People would no longer use groundwater once the dam was constructed to irrigate farms, Ishaqzai continued. Currently more than two billion cubic metres of Farah water flows unutilised into Iran yearly, he said. The construction of Bakhshabad dam will help overcome the water shortage.
A detailed engineering design contract for the dam was signed between the Ministry of Energy and Water and Hydro Arch, an Italian company, in June. Residents of Farah also complained about the falling groundwater levels.
Farid Ahmad, a resident of the fourth police district of Farah City, said most of wells in his area had been dry for the past two months. People obliged to dig their wells more or take water from deep wells which are available in parts of the area, he said.
“Water in our well recently got muddy. I hired a well digger who found some water, but the well again ran dry after a few days. I dug the well three times but it is drying up. Finally, I dug up another 13 meters deep well and found access to water,” he continued.
Eng. Mohammad Daud Aram, head of Youths Council in Bagh Pul village in Farah City, said all wells in their area had been dry for the past one and half months. He added all people of the village use water of wells with medium depth, which tended to run dry again and again.
“This situation has created problems for people, who can hardly find water for irrigation and drinking,” he said.
Toryalai Rahi, head of Youth Council in Pusht Rud district, said 90 percent of wells had run dry. Last year, he recalled, people were able to draw out four inches of water from an eight meters deep well. But this year they extract only two inches of water from a 14 meters deep well.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Nasar Mehri, the governor’s spokesman, said the Bakhshabad dam design contractor had arrived in Farah and would begin the process in the next one week.
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