Water Crisis in Kabul Could Be Severe If Not Addressed

The Kabul River Basin, which accounts for 35% of the country’s population, is the most important river basin of Afghanistan [I]. Kabul is the fifth fastest growing city in the world and among the world’s most water-stressed cities [II, III]. Its population in mid-2014 was estimated at 4.5 million and is expected to increase to about 8 million by 2050. The total population of the Kabul Metropolitan Area (KMA) is projected to be 6.74 million by 2025 with 1.5 million in the new city. Water demand in the new city is projected to be 96.1MCM/year including industrial water use. With an improving standard of living and a projected population of 9 million by 2057, an estimated six-fold water consumption increase in the Kabul Basin was simulated in the groundwater-flow model described by Mack et al. (IV). The KfW study (V) estimated 123.4 million m3/year of water demand for the Kabul city in 2015. The study estimated the groundwater potential is approximately 44 million m3/year, capable to cover only 2 million inhabitants at a modest per capita consumption of 50 LCDP (V).

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