HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): The government in western Herat province is planning the construction of small dams after the farmers concerns about deep wells and shortage of irrigation water in Herat City and district had increased.
Indiscriminate use of underground water by solar energy and the increasing digging of deep wells by farmers in Herat have raised concerns about the shortage of underground water resources in the coming years in this province.
Eng. Shah Mahmood Haidar, one of the teachers at the Herat Agriculture Institute, told Pajhwok Afghan News underground water resources will continue to decline until the government did not adopt a firm policy to curtail the use of underground water.
He said solar energy is free of cost but water were vital for survival and should be properly used.
He said: “Farmers use free solar energy and water excessively, people should save water, it is a fact that solar energy is free but water is vital for survival and should be used appropriately.”
Local farmers have said that they drilled deep well due to the shortage of water adding that it was vital for the survival of agriculture.
Gul Ahmad, one of the farmers from the Engil district, told Pajhwok Afghan News natural streams and other water resources to irrigate land were not available, adding that they had no option but to dig deep wells.
If farmers did not dug deep wells they could not irrigate lands and more people would be jobless, he added the underground water in Herat declined up to eight metres during the recent years, he added.
Ahmad said: “There is drought, there is no water in streams and Karizha and, it cannot reach our lands, we have to dig deep wells and irrigate our crops, if there are no deep wells, there will be no agriculture and everyone will be unemployed.”
Abdul Zahir, another farmer from Oba district, said due to the drought in recent years all natural resources of water, streams and Karez dried up.
He said he knew that drilling of deep wells caused the decline of underground water resources but still wanted the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ (IEA) to support agriculture and farmers.
Nizar Ahmad Elyas, the governor’s spokesperson said the provincial government has planned the construction of small dams in Herat City and districts.
He said the construction of these dams would help improve the underground water resources as well as provide water for agriculture purpose.
It is pertinent to mention that recently the Agriculture Department has stopped the cultivation of Shali crop in the province due to the shortage or water.