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 ...view middle of the document...
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 practices and seepage (Schneider, 2011). This is unacceptable because of the fact that the majority of Afghanistan’s crops must be irrigated, aside from the winter wheat crop. These same irrigation river systems also supply drinking water to the vast majority of the public for consumption.
The millions of poverty stricken refugees of Afghanistan wanting to return back home will have to face deficits of having little to no water available, which is most likely contaminated anyways. These refugees are forced to dig deep wells just to extract water from the ground. This is a challenge for the poor, who do not have the technology or energy to properly dig these deep, echoing holes. Creating wells without proper grouting or waste water management leads to contamination from surface sources. The Afghanistan Geological Survey gathered samples from 92 groundwater and karez sites, as well as 8 surface-water sites (Geological Survey, 2010). Commonly detected among most of the water samples taken...