The World Bank has recently set up a team to help the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan prepare a “Resource Growth Corridor” strategy anchored to oncoming large mining investments. Aynak and Hajigak, with Kabul as a central node. The first major mine moving towards production is the Aynak copper mine, together with the oil blocks in Amu Darya, to be followed by Hajigak iron ore development and potentially the gas blocks in Sheberghan.
This report relates to a review of previous documents concerning water supply for Kabul and the copper mine at Aynak and their impact on a formal strategy for the Kabul river basin.
The Kabul river basin can be divided into three main sub-basins; Logar-Upper Kabul, Panjshir and Lower Kabul. The key sub-basin Logar-Upper Kabul provides only 2.5% of the average annual flow of the basin at the border with Pakistan, Panjshir provides roughly 14%, with the Lower Kabul and its significant tributaries providing the major part of the annual flow of this river. Transferring water from the Lower Kabul basin to supply Kabul is possible but implies significant technical and financial issues; this means that short and medium term solutions have to rely on the available water resources of the Logar-Upper Kabul basin or by transfer from the Panjshir basin.
The Master Plan for Kabul has projected significant population expansion at over 100% within 10-20 years with a corresponding increase in per capita water demand of up to 300%. This increase in water demand would be met by providing storage, extraction and transfer of water from the remote source of the Panjshir valley, both capital and annual operating costs of such a scheme are significant.