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About

Context

The main problem to be addressed by the project is the lack of accessible potable water for the residents of Kabul City.

Whilst water supply to Kabul may be of increasing concern, Afghanistan is not lacking in water resources. Approximately 90% of precipitation, which occurs in Kabul in the form of rain, snow, drizzle and hail, falls during the cool season running from November and April. This is followed by runoff from the mountainous regions from April to May, when the snow-cover from the Hindu-Kush mountain range melts. The key issue is that most of this snowmelt is not captured for productive use and flows onward to Pakistan, leaving the country scarce of water. Kabul is almost entirely dependent on groundwater for its domestic water supplies. This has resulted in over exploitation of the local Kabul aquifers and rapidly declining groundwater levels under the city.

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Solution

One solution to this challenge is Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) or Artificial Storage and Recovery (ASR). MAR and ASR are the intentional recharge of water to suitable aquifers under controlled conditions for subsequent recovery, to achieve environmental benefits and/or to mitigate the impacts of over-abstraction. The process may involve the passive treatment of water through natural processes within the aquifer, to achieve a desired water quality.

There are a variety of MAR options to explore for the recharge of aquifers, as follows:

  • Injection well (pumping)

  • Injection well (gravity)

  • Large diameter receiving well

  • Large diameter receiving well with galleries

  • Above surface receiving well

  • Spreading basin

  • Ditch and furrow system

  • Contour bunds

Controlled recharge (injection through ASR wells)  Storage of: • Freshwater (potable) • Treated effluent (reuse)  Storage is achieved by: • Increasing aquifer water level • Lateral displacement of the native saline water • Flushing/cycling

Controlled recharge (injection through ASR wells)

Storage of:
• Freshwater (potable)
• Treated effluent (reuse)

Storage is achieved by:
• Increasing aquifer water level
• Lateral displacement of the native saline water
• Flushing/cycling

Controlled recharge will increase groundwater storage, as shown in the example above. 

Key features of artificial recharge:

  • Can be used to maximize storage (long term and seasonal)

  • Water can be recovered when needed

  • Improves groundwater quality via dilution

  • Can reduce salinity and prevent saline intrusion and land subsidence

  • Can be used to meet seasonal demand and be a strategic storage

  • Can mitigate against the impact of climate change

The Kabul Managed Aquifer Recharge pilot project is being carried out at up to four locations in Kabul to confirm the feasibility of Managed Aquifer Recharge as a solution to water scarcity in Kabul. It involves hydrogeological studies, MAR testing, and comparison with alternative options. If the pilot tests prove successful this pilot study will lead to a more comprehensive project to raise groundwater levels and increase groundwater resources for Kabul. The project tasks are outlined below.

•  ASR pilot site selection
•  Aquifer characterisation
•  Water compatibility assessment, water/water/rock interaction
•  ASR pilot test
•  Monitoring
•  Economical study
•  Capacity building of MEW hydrogeology department
•  Follow-on investment project design for ADB/government approval

Contract Number: 125253-552903
Project Commencement: 10th February 2017
Project Completion: 30th April 2020