In the next 50 years, it is estimated that drinking water needs in the Kabul Basin of Afghanistan may increase sixfold, due to population increases resulting from returning refugees. It also is likely that future water resources in the Kabul Basin will be reduced as a result of increasing air temperatures associated with global climate change. These are the findings of a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
estimates that at least 60 percent of shallow ground water-supply wells would
be affected, and may become dry or inoperative as a result of climate change.
Ground water in the basin's less widely used deep aquifer may supply future
needs; however, the sustainability of this resource for large withdrawals, such
as agricultural uses, is uncertain. Contamination also is a concern in shallow
drinking water sources in Kabul.
resources in the Kabul Basin are a critical issue for both the people of Afghanistan and U.S. military personnel serving
there," says USGS director Dr. Marcia McNutt. "The work the USGS has
done in providing insight about the water situation in the basin can help with
future water-resource planning and management efforts and can be applied to
other areas of Afghanistan."
presents the results of a multidisciplinary water-resources assessment
conducted between 2005 and 2007 to address questions of future water
availability for a growing population and of the potential effects of climate
there is considerable uncertainty associated with climate change projections,
warming trends forecast for southwest Asia
would likely result in adverse changes to recharge patterns and further
stresses on limited water resources. Such stresses were simulated to result in
50 percent of shallow ground water wells in the basin becoming inoperable.
water resources in a country affected by war and civil strife – which have left
a more than 20-year gap in the scientific record – is challenging," says
Thomas Mack, USGS scientist and lead author on the report. "However, our
collaborative investigation and the USGS's capacity-building efforts help
empower our Afghan colleagues to manage their resources and their future."
research for this study was conducted in collaboration with the Afghanistan
Geological Survey, a division of the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines, and the
Afghanistan Ministry of Energy and Water under an agreement with the U.S.
Agency for International Development.
with USGS scientists has helped our engineers to modernize their skills and
improve their capabilities," says Afghanistan Geological Survey director Mohammed
Omar. "Our engineers are using these improvements as they monitor ground water
levels and water quality in the Kabul
assessed climate trends, water use, surface and ground water availability and
water quality by integrating several forms of data, including surface and
ground water analyses, satellite imagery, geologic investigations, climate
change analyses, and estimates of public-supply and agricultural water uses, to
provide a comprehensive overview of water resources in this basin.
Afghanistan's Kabul Basin Faces Major Water Challenges
June 28, 2010