Groundwater Natural Resources and Quality Concerns in Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

This technical paper focuses on the quality of natural groundwater resources in the Kabul River Basin and the associated socio-economic and environmental concerns due to groundwater quality deterioration, primarily due to over-exploitation, which is to increase further given population growth, agricultural needs, industrialization and socio-economic improvement. The paper calls for urgent action to address this situation.

Highlighting the significant role of groundwater in socio-economic development, the paper warns of depletion of natural groundwater storage and increase in concern of overdraft of groundwater due to over-abstraction, low recharge and high evaporation, primarily due to the lowering of groundwater level in excess of the low recharge trend; these conditions are to exacerbate with increasing population pressure on the Kabul Basin groundwater, the quality of which will not be recoverable, if this trend continues.

The paper recommends quantifying of availability and supply of groundwater in the Kabul Basin for sustainable use and development, taking corrective action to address the contamination of Kabul Basin drinking water systems, strengthening institutional arrangements, improving groundwater monitoring systems, identifying alternative water sources, preventing further lowering of groundwater table and deterioration of water quality by undertaking and executing anti-degradation policy, strengthening public participation for improved family practices, exploring water harvesting and artificial recharge techniques, and strengthen cooperation and exchange of information among water stakeholders.

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