Increasing concerns over shortage of water in Kabul

By: Shukria Kohistani

Kabul residents by expressing concern over shortage of water say increasing shortage of underground water is threatening the people life in the city, which is more dangerous than the threat of terrorism and insecurity.
They say continued drought in the past few years has caused that people start making use of underground water. Increasing use of underground water by the people has resulted in drying most of wells in the city and has raised serious concern among the people. Experts have even warned of water crisis in the city. Based on information provided by the government, the level of underground water has declined 20m during the past 17 years.
According to Kabul residents, there are various ministries and independent institutions that are somehow involved in management of water, but no practical and effective mechanisms have been created to control increasing risk of shortage of water in Kabul city.
They say Kabul’s underground water has fallen at least 40 – 60 meters, while people had got the underground water in one meter depth in some areas around 30 years ago.
Although increasing use of underground water has raised concern among the people, the government still has not taken any step to legally monitor and manage underground resources of water.
According to the ministry of water and energy, mostly Kabul’s underground water is located in four areas of Kabul city, but due to increasing use of the water, the situation of water reservoir in the city is in critical condition.
Based on the information of the ministry, water table of Afshar – Darul Aman has unprecedentedly declined in recent years; meanwhile, water table of Alauddin – Chahelstoon is facing with similar situation.
In the meantime, water table in northern and east part of Kabul city has also fallen in recent years and facing with the risk of drying.
A government-run water supply company providing drinking water from two water table of western and southern areas of Kabul city has informed of reduction of underground water resources.
“From among 25 wells, 16 have dried in two areas such as Afshar and Chahelstoon,” said Sayed Navid Sayeedi, a spokesperson of the company.
Continued drought and climate change that has caused reduction of rainfall in central parts of the country in particular Kabul city are considered as the main reason of reduction of water resources in the city.
Residents of Kabul are still drilling deeper and deeper for water as the country’s drought takes hold. The water shortage has been exacerbated by the city’s burgeoning population, which has grown to some six million, boosted by people fleeing war and poverty.
Based on figures and information provided by the government-run water supply company, nearly 120,000 families (1 million & 200,000) Kabul residents are making use of drinking water provided by government and private water supply companies, while the rest are making use of the underground water resources directly and indirectly.

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