Water Crisis in Afghanistan

Topics: Water supply network, Water, Water resources Pages: 5 (1668 words) Published: March 7, 2012
Water Crisis in Afghanistan
It makes up approximately 70 percent of the Earth that we inhabit. You may find yourself “up to the neck in it” at any given point, seeing as humans can be composed almost entirely of it. Water is all around us, and is essential to the ongoing cycle of life. Although water may seem abundant throughout the Earth and atmosphere; the amount of clean, useable water is an everyday crisis for some of the drought stricken, less fortunate countries. While the Oceans hold roughly 97% of the water on Earth, making it saline, humans are left to raise weapons over the mere 3% we have to use as fresh water. From that 3%, about 70% of that is frozen in the glaciers and ice caps, making it out of commission too (Fig. 1). It is clear and unfortunate that drinkable water is a resource that can be hard to come by in certain environments. The aim of this paper is to depict and examine the impacts of warfare on clean water in Afghanistan, and to identify ways of alleviating those impacts. There are many factors related to the war that affect Afghans accessibility to clean water. Dilapidated water infrastructure with little service to the public results in leakage and contamination of useable water. Streams and canals that were improperly designed and received substantial destruction result in poor water flow to farmlands. The constant search for useable water drinks wells dry, making clean water seem like a luxury to the poorest parts of Afghanistan who rely on groundwater as their only source of water. The quandary of drought exceedingly cuts into agricultural production, where it was once possible to farm rain-fed crops without having to worry about the severe lack of water. Introducing and carrying out new strategies and campaigns to help cope with dehydrated communities is essential to the recovery of Afghanistan’s water crisis. Proper infrastructure and legal water distribution organizations are needed to mitigate some of the affects caused by warfare. When all is boiled down, the first step in the right direction is to seize to all warfare in Afghanistan. To start, three decades of warfare has severely damaged the water infrastructure that provides irrigation water, as well as water to the people for consumption. Warfare can destroy just about anything in its path, with violent explosions and gunfire. The water infrastructure in Afghanistan was ruthlessly battered in the events of the war. Water mains exploding, as well as holes and cracks in the piping lead to major leaks and contamination. The use of landmines was attributed to most of the damage done to the infrastructure. Landmines not only disrupt the irrigation systems by destroying them, but also render the land around the explosions infertile. All the while, the public has to face the hardships because there is no way to repair the damages while warfare is present. Currently, only 30% of the arable land used for agriculture is receiving sufficient amounts of water to grow their crops. With agriculture contributing to 50% of the nations GDP, supplying the majority of exports and employing 85% of the workforce, Afghanistan cannot afford to be wasting or contaminating its water supply.

In relation, the Afghan people rely heavily on the rivers and canals to distribute water. Right off the bat, these infiltration systems were deficiently engineered. The majority of Afghanistan’s water flows down from the Hindu Kush Mountains via rivers and waterways. The water is stored in the glaciers, and the run-off provides water for surrounding countries. The downside is the fact that two-thirds of the water flows into neighbouring countries, mainly Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan. (Fig. 2) Afghanistan is currently working agreements and negotiating these boundary water issues. The Ministry of Energy and Water documented that 98% of all water diverted from the river and canal systems is used by agriculture, with upwards of 60% lost to poor on-farm managerial...
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