Recently, deep well have been drilled in the Andkhoi region and in Mazar-e-Sharif. In Nader Shah we provided solar panels to power the pump to bring up the water from around 100 m depth:
In the schools we have constructed many water reservoirs like this one for the Agricultural Institute in Qurghan. They are filled in spring when there is enough water from melting snow in the mountains. From about May to October/November there is no rain in the Andkhoi region.
Clean drinking water is hard to find in the desert or steppe. From 1999 to 2002 Afghanistan suffered from a particularly long and severe period of drought, but even in normal years providing everyone with clean drinking water is difficult. Temperatures rise in the area northwest of the Hindukush mountains up to 45°C. There is only little rain/snow. In the summer months it does not rain at all.
In Spring and from late November water is coming again along the river and the ditches and streams to the northern four districts of the province of Faryab. Especially in spring the floods can be very strong and destroy the mud houses.
Traditional water rights exist but it is difficult to apply them. Water is used up river for the irrigation of the melons plantations and, therefore, the river and streams in the northern districts of the province fall dry. Only at the end of November the water starts running again.
To find water the wells have to go down at least 50 to 60 m. The well shafts are dug by manpower, some times with the help of donkeys. Men go down the shaft, fill buckets made from tyres which are then pulled up with ropes either by men or donkey and man. Some times all these efforts are in vain because the water found may be salty.
Recently, in one village a desaltification machine was put to use.
Hopes are great for an improvement of the drinking water situation. A pipeline from the Amu Darya, the big river at the border to Usbekistan/Turkmenistan, pumping stations and water reservoirs were built. The water is running now – most of the time – and houses are connected, but only in areas where town planning is completed. Many villages will have to wait for years to come before they are connected. Also, the materials used for the pipes are not of good quality and break ever so often.
Therefore, we have built either wells or, where this was not possible, water reservoirs for the schools. These water reservoirs are filled with water after November and in the following months and this water is used in summer. When the reservoirs falls dry, it can be filled with water bought from the water traders.
Recently, we covered those reservoirs which we built about 15 years ago – square open 8 x 8 m. Nowadays all reservoirs are covered with copulas. The water flows via ditches into a chamber where the sediments can settle, then it goes into the reservoir itself. It will be taken out from the filter chamber.