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Ambassador Jawad Welcomes USGS Water Survey Findings


Demands for drinking water on the Kabul Basin in Afghanistan may increase six times from its current supply according to a new study carried out by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with the Afghan Government.  The findings significantly estimate that at least 60 percent of shallow groundwater-supply wells would be affected over the next 50 years and may become dry or inoperative as a result of climate change as documented in the new study recently unveiled at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. 

Groundwater in the basin’s less widely used deep aquifer may supply future needs; however, the sustainability of this resource for large withdrawals, such as agricultural uses is uncertain. 

“[USGS has] been an invaluable asset for bringing advanced technology into Afghanistan and transferring their professional skills to build the capacity of our institution,” Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Said Jawad said recently during a presentation of the report at the embassy.

In welcoming the USGS team led by scientist Thomas Mack and lead author on the report,  Jawad said,  “The training of Afghan experts and scientists will sustain the growth and maintenance of an infrastructure that will support the systematic development, extraction and monitoring of mineral deposits.” 

 “We are also excited about the news of an estimated mineral wealth of $1 trillion dollars in Afghanistan including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and coal,” the ambassador said.  “These unified reports prove to be invaluable for the maximum extraction of the minerals already known and the discovery of new deposits.” 

The research was conducted in collaboration with the Afghanistan Geological Survey, a division of the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Energy and Water under an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Contamination is a concern in shallow drinking water sources in Kabul. 

“Investigating water resources in a country affected by war and civil strife, which have left a more than 20-year gap in the scientific record, is challenging,” said Mack.  “However, our collaborative investigation and the USGS's capacity-building efforts help empower our Afghan colleagues to manage their resources and their future.”

“The Ministry has been working closely with the international organizations including the World Bank, US Geological Survey and the international mining and finance community, for some time to ensure all of the Afghan people benefit from our rich natural resources for decades to come…,” said Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani in Kabul. 

The USGS study assessed climate trends, water use, surface and groundwater availability and water quality by integrating several forms of data, including surface and groundwater analyses, satellite imagery, geologic investigations, climate change analyses, and estimates of public-supply and agricultural water uses, to provide a comprehensive overview of water resources in this basin.

The findings are the results of a multidisciplinary water-resources assessment conducted between 2005 and 2007 to address questions of future water availability for a growing population and of the potential effects of climate change.



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