The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) of Afghanistan said it is working hard to implement plans to build 20 more large and medium-sized dams in the country. According to them, at least 15 dams are currently under construction and 15 other dam projects are being worked on. Construction on these will be implemented once the National Procurement Authority (NPA) approves the project budgets.
According to MoEW, they are also preparing to start working on the Kafkan, Tirpol and Pashdan dam projects in Herat, along the Harirod River. Once all these dams have been completed, water in the east and southern zones of the country will be managed. “We continue our efforts to build the dams based on our plans. We have done a lot in this field and a lot has remained to be done,” the MoEW spokesman said. Last year, the Salma Dam was completed in Herat – which was one of the government’s key dam projects. In addition to this, the second phase of Kajaki dam in Helmand, the last phase of Kamal Khan dam in Nimroz and Bakhshabad Dam in Farah are under construction. A number of MPs meanwhile said the energy and water ministry do not take steps to control water management issues. This comes after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani a conference in Tehran slammed the Afghan government for building the dams. “An agreement has been signed by Afghanistan and Iran on Helmand River when Musa Shafiq was the minister of foreign affairs. Therefore, no issue has remained on water between the two countries,” said Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) speaker. A number of economists said however said the National Unity Government has failed to start big dam projects, except to complete and implement projects that were started during the former administration. “The value of water will increase day-by-day. Currently we use only a small portion of our waters and most of it flows to neighboring countries. They (neighboring countries) have built dams on our waters,” economic affairs analyst Azrakhsh Hafizi said. On average, the water volume in Afghanistan is estimated to up to 70 billion cubic meters annually. But 80 percent of these waters are flowing to Iran, Pakistan and other neighboring nations in Central Asian countries.