KABUL (TCA) — The Ministry of Energy and Water of Afghanistan on March 7 said that it has considered a number of programs for better management of the country’s water resources as they have major implications for the national development and economic prosperity, Afghanistan’s TOLOnews agency reported.
“If we lose and waste our water resources, then there will no opportunity to retrieve it,” said Minister of Energy and Water Ali Ahmad Osmani.
Afghanistan has major water resources but the country is not using its water effectively. The country has the capacity of using only 36 percent of its water and the rest is flowing into neighboring countries.
Afghanistan’s surface water reserves are estimated at 49 billion cubic meters and underground water at 18 billion cubic meters.
Experts say that water management in the country could help Afghanistan to leverage its economic programs and boost the agriculture sector, saying this would also help Afghanistan to be self-reliant.
More than 3.5 million hectares of land which are suitable for agriculture are not utilized today.
“If we adopt the best management practices of our water resources, it will help us to get self-reliance. We can also reach a deal with our neighbors about the waters we have,” said Afghan Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Assadullah Zamir.
Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are among the key neighbors of Afghanistan who get a lot of advantage from five river basins in Afghanistan.
“So far there is no agreement with other countries about the water resources of Afghanistan. There should be an agreement in this respect and negotiations must start to achieve this. These agreements should not be signed for a long term basis, they should be for a twenty- or thirty-year period,” said economic expert Qais Mohammadi.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said at the National Land Conference in Kabul last week that Afghanistan’s socioeconomic stability and future development is directly linked with focused management of land and water resources.