Afghan Villagers Unite to Preserve Access to Water

In Dand District, Kandahar Province villagers from Qalach-a-Abad come together to clean the Nawai Pathaw Canal. They do this so they have enough water to irrigate their fields, and grow their crops for the rest of the year.

The canal needs to be cleaned every year due to the amount of mud and silt that accumulates and needs to be removed for the water to flow freely.


Over 100 villagers are working together to clean the canal. It takes 20 days to clean 10.5 kilometres of the canal, which provides water for 6 villages. It is also common to require 40 days to make repairs, stop leaks, and clean. In spite of this annual  effort it is not unusual for the villages to run out of water due to the leakages.

The canal that was originally built some 50 yrs ago, was rehabilitated in 2014 by the Irrigation Restoration and Development Project. The project which took a year included building new sluice gates, a protective wall, , flumes, and culverts the length of the canal. The result is agricultural output and activity has improved. 2,748 hectares of farmland is now serviced compared to the previous 2,320 hectares.


Before the upgrade villagers came out and did the work, but not happily. Now with the outside investment and the increase in crops, they are more happy to put in their own money and time to keep the improvements in good shape. the people of the 6 villages have a renewed sense of purpose.

This project is only part of the picture as irrigation systems serving some 300,000 hectares need upgrades. Presently, 98 irrigation schemes covering 100,000 hectares benefiting 63,000 farmers have been rehabilitated.

That is 63,000 people with a renewed sense of purpose. This carries over to the villages investing more into themselves…the true power of development.


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