GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Drought hits all districts of southern Ghazni province this year, but Zana Khan, about 30 kilometers from the provincial capital, is the worst-hit district.
Farmers and gardeners in the district complain they are facing severe water shortages due to the drought and lack enough water for crops and orchards.
Assadullah, a farmer from Purdil Qala area in Zana Khan district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the main source of water for crops and orchards in the district was the karez system, which had dried up due to receding groundwater.
He added that if the drought continued, their crops and orchards would either dry up or yield less this year.
He called on the government and aid agencies to take necessary steps to address the problem.
Mohammad Isa, another farmer, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 80 percent of the district population was associated with agriculture and horticulture. The main crops include wheat, maize, carrots, vegetables, grapes, apricots, peaches and plums.
But he said this year’s harvest would be less than half due to the drought.
He said right now people do not have water to irrigate their crops and orchards and the crops are in danger of disappearing before ripening.
Mohammad Gul, a gardener in the district, told Pajhwok Afghan News he owned three acres of apricot and peach orchard but the trees faced danger of drying up due to water scarcity.
He added that in the past he harvested thousands of kilograms of apricots and peaches from his garden but this year he was worried that he would not be able to harvest even half of them.
He called on the government to increase water resources in the district.
Ghazni provincial officials also acknowledged the drought problem in the province and said they were aware of the people’s problems and were working to find solutions.
Maulvi Asadullah Mansoori, director of the river basin in the province, told Pajhwok Afghan News that efforts were being made to build check dams in Zana Khan and other districts of Ghazni to control rainwater, which would help prevent drought in the province.
He added that in some districts of the province, aid agencies were busy clearing canals to help supply water to farms and orchards.
The main sources of water in Zana Khan district are karez and springs, which have been depleted due to climate change and declining rainfall.
There is also a water dam in the district which has run out of water due to drought.
This year, not only in Ghazni, but also in many parts of the country, the ongoing drought has reduced the water supply and caused serious problems for the people.