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Drought likely threatening W. Afghanistan due to low level of rainfall

By: Shokria Kohistani

Water shortage and drought crisis have increased in the country’s western provinces of Nimroz and Farah.
Officials warn that if there is not enough rainfall in the spring, farmers, ranchers and residents of the aforesaid provinces will experience drought and water shortage. An eye-catching decrease in
rainfall and groundwater level has caused concern among local officials in the provinces and local
resistances believe there was a threat of water shortage, postures, agricultural products and livestock
would be subject to destruction. Nimroz Agriculture Directorate announced the decrease of
rains in the province and warned that this year will be extremely difficult and agricultural and livestock products would be in danger of extinction. Also, in Farah province, winter rainfall was extremely low and according to local officials, the groundwater level has dropped highly. According to them, in Ghor and Badghis provinces, people were optimistic that there would be still time to make up for the water shortage in these provinces, and that spring rains are likely to reduce the threat of water shortages. Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi, Director of Herat’s Agriculture Directorate told media that last year, there was very little rain and snow, and 69 mm of rain has been re- corded so far. He reiterated that during the solar year 1398, it rained over 180 mm in Heart province, while following the solar year 1399, the problems of water shortage were
relatively low. He hoped that in less than two months in the spring, when the province witnessed spring rains
in previous years, the lack of seasonal rains last winter will be compensated. More than 200,000 hectares
of land are cultivated with no water or less water, and the farmers wait for rain to feed the grown
wheat, barley, chickpeas, and lentils, and the harvest depends on seasonal rains. Officials at the
Herat Directorate of Agriculture are concerned that a large portion of agricultural products will be destroyed
if it does not rain in the first two months of spring, according to officials. Meanwhile, local officials in
Farah and Nimroz provinces, west of the country also report a severe shortage of water resources
this year. They stress that in addition to agriculture, in the absence of water, natural grasslands are being destroyed and livestock are being perished. Abdul Manan Matin, Director of Farah Provincial Agriculture
said that 18 mm of rain has fallen in 1399, which is the lowest amount. According to him, in 1398, Farah witnessed about 185 mm of rain and in 1399, it was relatively dry and low-level water, and this year the province will face a shortage of drinking water as well. In Nimroz province, rainfall was very low in 1399 and the province has always been threatened by drought and water shortages, according to officials. Zabihullah Olyazadeh, Agricultural Director of the province, said in 1399, there was little rain in this province and only about 20 mm of rain has been recorded. He insisted that Nimroz province was facing severe water shortages due to a lack of rain, but the operation of the Kamal Khan Dam has created a window of hope
for farmers. However, unlike Herat, Farah and Nimroz, local officials in Ghor and Badghis provinces
are pleased enough seasonal rains that eliminate the threat of drought. According to officials
from the agriculture departments in the five western provinces, farmers in three provinces will have dry and waterless years, and drought will threaten livestock and farms and in addition, winter rains are beneficial for raising groundwater levels. Over 200,000 hectares of lands in Herat and 60,000 hectares in Badghis are under cultivation. Crop cultivation is with rain water and is irrigated with winter and spring rainwater.

 

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