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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER)
Cycle 4 (2015 Deadline)

Impacts of climate change on transboundary water treaties/sharing: a case study of Kabul River basin, Afghanistan

PI: Fahima SadeqiNezhad (, AZMA Technical and Vocational Institute
U.S. Partner: Devendra M. Amatya, USDA Forest Service Center for Forested Wetlands Research
Project Dates: December 2015 - September 2020

Project Overview

4-257 AZMA Workshop
The project PI conducts a workshop for engineering students at the AZMA Institute (photo courtesy of Dr. SadeqiNezhad).

One of the biggest challenges to mankind is climate change in the twenty-first century. The escalation in the frequency and severity of natural disasters and other extreme climate phenomena has been widely discussed in many countries around the world. Responding to climate change requires not only efforts from individual countries but also joint actions on a global scale for both mitigation and adaptation. This project will explore the impacts of climate change on transboundary flows to quantify the required environmental flows for healthy ecosystems, hydropower exports, and irrigated agriculture for the Kabul river basin. The Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) method considering Range of Variability Analysis (RVA) will be used to estimate environmental flow requirements (EFR). Since maintaining natural flow variability is crucial in preserving native riverine biota and river ecosystem integrity, the RVA results will be used as a key reference for evaluating EFR.Maintaining environmental flows of a river means reducing the water demand of one or more sectors to allocate for other ecological requirements, including the biota. Keeping this in perspective, the reservoir simulation technique will be applied to operate the reservoir for hydropower purposes by using HEC-ReSim, a public domain model for reservoir system simulation developed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Finally, alternative mitigation measures will be suggested to reduce the impacts of allocating environmental flows on irrigation and hydroelectric demands. A dry year conservation zone will be developed to reduce irrigation shortages caused by environmental flow consideration. Additionally, this study will demonstrate how sustainable water sharing agreement can be achieved by linking transboundary flows to hydropower exports, irrigated agriculture, and environmental flow demands.

This project relates to USAID’s aimed at focusing investments and identifying priorities within the wider role that water and watershed management play in the fields of energy, conflict, climate change, education, biodiversity, ecosystems, and economic growth. This strategy specifically endorses the principles and proven approaches of integrated water resources management and encourages the use of all appropriate technologies and tools in achieving those objectives. Besides its scientific objectives with regard to water resource management, this PEER project is also designed to help strengthen the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan by reducing the potential for conflict between the two countries on water treaties or resource sharing. Both countries can use and share the water meeting hydropower and irrigated agriculture needs, as well as environmental flow demands. 

Summary of Recent Activities

In the last quarter of 2019, the team focused on incorporating the comments of three papers submitted to CAJWR and focused on other efforts to disseminate the results of their project to stakeholders. The team worked with GSRO and Led Pakistan to organize a National Level Climate Change Impact Conference. AZMA met with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, National Environmental Protection Agency, the General Directory of the Afghanistan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Corporation (AUWSSC) and Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to invite them to the conference and get their input on the focus and content. The conference is planned for late spring 2020.

In the new year, the team will complete their analysis of their models and finish their papers for submission. Data and papers from the project will be widely shared nationally. The team will also focus its efforts on organizing the conference which will be the culmination of their project and involve stakeholders from the above mentioned government agencies, universities, private sector.

4-257 Qargha Dam Village4-257 Research Presentation
One of the villages built along the Qargha Dam and ReservoirThe project team presents their research to the Ministry of Energy and Water in March 2017.

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