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Drilling begins for the new monitoring network to analyse groundwater levels in Kabul

Poppy Dickinson

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As part of the Kabul Managed Aquifer Recharge Project (KMARP) funded by the Asian Development Bank, Landell Mills has commenced the drilling of a new monitoring network across the city. The drilling of 20 piezometer wells, which will monitor the groundwater levels, commenced on 6th July and is expected to be completed within four months.

Landell Mills’ consultants are supervising the drilling contractors, Diamond Geo Engineering, and overseeing the installation of monitoring equipment in the wells. It is expected that a further 20 wells will be drilled in the near future. 

Kabul is reliant on groundwater, but it is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world and its residents suffer from a lack of accessible drinking water. Due to issues such as contamination from pit latrines and waste disposal, as well as continued population growth, groundwater levels are stressed and of poor quality.

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KMARP is investigating the use of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) techniques in order to improve groundwater levels and quality, as well as access to drinking water for Kabul. Managed Aquifer Recharge is the intentional recharge of water to aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock) under controlled conditions. Some of the MAR techniques used on the project include a spreading basin and injection wells. The former involves a flat enclosed basin located on a permeable surface overlying an aquifer, then recharge water is placed in the basin area and allowed to infiltrate. Injection wells consist of a tube well that goes deep into the ground and water is pumped down into the aquifer below. 

The monitoring network will capture the changes in water level in great detail and analyse how MAR sites alter groundwater levels. The results of the project will be used to evaluate the feasibility of MAR in the city.