ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Some residents of southwestern Nimroz province have hit back at Iran’s demand for water and said a number of families had been forced to leave their homes and migrated to other places due to drought and non-availability of water.
This comes that Iranian top leaders had recently issued threatening statements and asked the acting Afghan government to provide its water in line with its due right.
Afghan government said that the implementation of 1972 water treaty between the two countries was the best solution of water dispute and asked Tehran to first completed its investigation through legal channel and then raise its demand in a proper tone.
Afghan official repeatedly stressed over the negotiated resolution of disputes and said that climate change was the main cause behind the shortage of water and Iran should not politicize the issue.
Nimroz residents’ complaints
Mohammad Sarwar Tajik, one of the farmers in the Nad Ali area of Zaranj city, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “From the past five years, drought and the lack of water took all our financial resources.”
“The people of Nimroz purchase one tanker of water against 500 afs and 20 lite of water against 15 afs, Iran is asking for its water right. We have no water for drinking while the neighboring country is asking for water, from where we shall bring water, during the past 50 years when there was enough water all went to Iran.”
He asked the Afghan government to release water from Kajaki Dam to the people of Nimroz because Nimroz has 20 percent shares in Kajaki Dam.
This comes that recently acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi while reacting to Iran’s water demand said that Kamal Khan reservoir had dried up while there was drastic decline in the Kajaki reservoir as well.
Abdul Rauf Akhund, another farmer in Nimroz said that due to drought he did not received any yield from his 250 acres of land during the past five years.
“Last year we cultivated wheat, corn, watermelon and melon but we suffered losses due to the shortage of water,” he said.
He said: “Many farmers who cultivated for two years paid compensation, they are not willing to cultivate this year, the farmers even abandoned our land, they say we should work as laborers, we will get good wages, there is no yield from this land, the land is now free because there no water.”
Akhundzada, who is also the member of Kamal Khan Dam Association, said: “This year, I visited the dam 50 times, but there is no water in its reservoir to irrigate Nimroz land forgets about Iran, Iran is our neighbor we will not be jealous when there water.”
He said he and other farmers held meeting with the governor to demand water from Kajaki dam but it was said there is also water shortage in the Kajaki Dam.
He said: “The government and people of Afghanistan are committed to the treaty of 1972. If Iran has water, we border residents will benefit, and on the contrary, if we have water, it will benefit Zabul and Zahedan. We request them to see the drought situation of Nimruz and then claim over their water rights.”
Chakhansour District Chief Aminullah said last year some farmers lost their livestock due to the drought and migrated to Iran.
Hikmatullah, the resident of Kang district, said: “Nimroz is a hot province, this time of the year the price of water jump, in Kang people who have water well lock their doors so that other people do not asked them for water because well dry up in two months.”
“This season different types of disease are generated due to the use of dirty water, there is pollution and people migrated from Nimroz due to the shortage of water, Iran demand water from us in this terrible condition which is very unfortunate.”
Gul Ahmad Fazli, a senior Agriculture official, said farmers and land owners in Nimroz suffered massive losses during the past two years due to water shortage.
He said; “The local government often raised its voice for its water right to the central government, Water and Energy Ministry and other relevant institutions but no one paid head to their problem.”
He said in Nimroz 90,000 animals existed and last year 5,000 was lost due to the shortage of water causing massive financial losses to the farmers. Enough water is not available in Kang and Chakhansur districts.
Fazli said that farmers pinned hops to the Kamal Khan Dam water from Kamal Khan comes once their seed dry up in their land and the people of Kang and Chakhansur never benefited from the dam.
He said in Nimroz 160,000 hectares of and was capable for irrigation out of which 80,000 being cultivated. There is cultivation had taken place in Kang and Chakhansur recently.