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Groundwater-level trends and implications for sustainable water use in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

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The Kabul Basin, which includes the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, with a population of approximately 4 million, has several Afghan, United States, and international military installations that depend on groundwater resources for a potable water supply. This study examined groundwater levels in the Kabul Basin from 2004 to 2012. Groundwater levels have increased slightly in rural areas of the Kabul Basin as a result of normal precipitation after the drought of the early 2000s. However, groundwater levels have decreased in the city of Kabul due to increasing water use in an area with limited recharge. The rate of groundwater-level decrease in the city is greater for the 2008–2012 period (1.5 meters per year (m/yr) on average) than for the 2004–2008 period (0–0.7 m/yr on average). The analysis, which is corroborated by groundwater-flow modeling and a non-governmental organization decision-support model, identified groundwater-level decreases and associated implications for groundwater sustainability in the city of Kabul. Military installations in the city of Kabul (the Central Kabul subbasin) are likely to face water management challenges resulting from long-term groundwater sustainability concerns, such as the potential drying of shallow water-supply wells. Installations in the northern part of the Kabul Basin may have fewer issues with long-term water sustainability. Groundwater-level monitoring and groundwater-flow simulation can be valuable tools for assessing groundwater management options to improve the sustainability of water resources in the Kabul Basin.
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Groundwater-level trends and implications for sustainable water
use in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan
Thomas J. Mack
Michael P. Chornack
Mohammad R. Taher
Published online: 17 July 2013
Ó The Author(s) 2013. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
Abstract The Kabul Basin, which includes the city of
Kabul, Afghanistan, with a population of approximately 4
million, has several Afghan, United States, and interna-
tional military installations that depend on groundwater
resources for a potable water supply. This study examined
groundwater levels in the Kabul Basin from 2004 to 2012.
Groundwater levels have increased slightly in rural areas of
the Kabul Basin as a result of normal precipitation after the
drought of the early 2000s. However, groundwater levels
have decreased in the city of Kabul due to increasing water
use in an area with limited recharge. The rate of ground-
water-level decrease in the city is greater for the
2008–2012 period (1.5 meters per year (m/yr) on average)
than for the 2004–2008 period (0–0.7 m/yr on average).
The analysis, which is corroborated by groundwater-flow
modeling and a non-governmental organization decision-
support model, identified groundwater-level decreases and
associated implications for groundwater sustainability in
the city of Kabul. Military installations in the city of Kabul
(the Central Kabul subbasin) are likely to face water
management challenges resulting from long-term ground-
water sustainability concerns, such as the potential drying
of shallow water-supply wells. Installations in the northern
part of the Kabul Basin may have fewer issues with long-
term water sustainability. Groundwater-level monitoring
and groundwater-flow simulation can be valuable tools for
assessing groundwater management options to improve the
sustainability of water resources in the Kabul Basin.
Keywords Groundwater level Groundwater depletion
Water-level network Groundwater-flow model
Kabul, Afghanistan
1 Introduction
As of 2012, military installations in Afghanistan rely on
groundwater for a significant portion of their potable water
supply (Gellasch 2012). The Kabul Basin has several
Afghan, United States, and international military installa-
tions including the Bagram Airfield in the north and
Afghan National Army (ANA) and the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) compounds in the city of
Kabul (Fig. 1). ISAF troops in the Kabul Basin total
approximately 25,000 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization
2013), and the number of Afghan troops is likely to be
twice that number. Although that number is relatively
small, compared to the approximately 4 million people in
the Kabul Basin, water use at installations in the densely
populated city of Kabul (Fig. 1) adds to existing stresses.
Detailed water usage numbers at military facilities were not
available to this study and may not exist for some facilities.
The estimated population growth in Afghanistan from 2000
to 2010 was about 37 %, much greater than the high
population growth rate of about 26 % for other least
developed countries for that same period (United Nations
2011). The Kabul Basin accounts for more than 10 % of
the population of Afghanistan, and people in the city and in
military installations in the basin depend solely on
groundwater for drinking water supplies. With a growing
population and with additional water demands for potential
T. J. Mack (&)
U.S. Geological Survey, Pembroke, NH, USA
e-mail: tjmack@usgs.gov
M. P. Chornack
U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, USA
M. R. Taher
Afghanistan Geological Survey, Kabul, Afghanistan
123
Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467
DOI 10.1007/s10669-013-9455-4
mining activities in the region, the sustainability of water
resources in the Kabul Basin is of concern to water
resource managers (Banks and Soldal 2002; Uhl 2006).
Investigations by the U.S. Department of Defense Task
Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), the
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Afghanistan
Geological Survey (AGS) indicate that copper minerals
immediately south of the Kabul Basin (Fig. 1) represent a
potential world-class deposit that may provide considerable
economic opportunity to Afghanistan (Peters et al. 2011).
Water is needed, however, not only to process copper ore,
but also to supply the associated population that will be
Fig. 1 Population in the Kabul
Basin, Afghanistan, in 2011
estimated from remotely sensed
data
458 Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467
123
needed to accompany a developing mining economy.
Understanding the water resources of the Kabul Basin is
necessary for operation of the military installations,
domestic needs, and commercial activities necessary for
the rebuilding of Afghanistan. In this paper, analysis of
recently (2008–2012) compiled groundwater-level trend
data for the Kabul Basin supports findings of implications
for sustainable water use provided by a decision-support
model (World Bank 2010) and a groundwater-flow model
(Mack et al. 2010).
1.1 Site description
The Kabul Basin is the valley formed by the Paghman
Mountains to the west and the Kohe Safi Mountains to the
east of the city of Kabul (Fig. 1) and extends about 40 km
north of the city. The Kabul Basin can be divided into
several subbasins that are separated by bedrock ridges and
river drainage divides (Fig. 1). The city of Kabul is pri-
marily in the Central Kabul subbasin, but continued growth
has caused the city to expand into the Paghman-Upper
Kabul and Logar subbasins. The Paghman-Upper Kabul,
Central Kabul, Deh Sabz, and Logar subbasins make up the
southern part of the Kabul Basin (Fig. 1).
The central plains of the subbasins are local depositional
centers for sediments derived from the surrounding surfi-
cial deposits and bedrock outcrops. Alluvial fans have
developed on the flanks of the mountains surrounding the
subbasins and on the interbasin ridges. Deposits in the
central plains (Fig. 2) include alluvium and loess, typically
less than 80 meters (m) thick, that overlie semi-consoli-
dated conglomeritic sediments, as much as 1,000 m thick
(Homilius 1969). The primary aquifer in the Kabul Basin is
a surficial sedimentary aquifer that occupies the bottom of
the basin and subbasins (Fig. 2). The underlying lower
semi-consolidated conglomeritic sediments are a second-
ary, less-used aquifer. Carbon-14 analyses of groundwater
by this study and Mack et al. (2010) indicate that
groundwater at the base of the upper aquifer is about
1,000 years old and that groundwater at the top of the
lower or secondary aquifer (Fig. 2) is 2,800 years old. It is
estimated that groundwater deeper in the secondary aquifer
is likely many thousands of years old (Mack et al. 2010).
The sedimentary and fractured metamorphic and crystal-
line bedrock of the surrounding mountains and interbasin
ridges (Lindsay et al. 2005; Bohannon and Turner 2007;
Bohannon 2010) is the least-used aquifer in the Kabul
Basin. Studies that have investigated aquifers in the
southern Kabul Basin include those by Bo
¨
ckh (1971),
Myslil et al. (1982), Broshears et al. (2005), Japan Inter-
national Cooperation Agency (2007), Lashkaripour and
Hussaini (2008), and Houben et al. (2009).
Climate recordkeeping in Afghanistan ceased around
1980, and few climatic data are available for Kabul until
2003 or later. The mean annual precipitation from 1956 to
1983 was estimated to be 312 mm (mm; World Meteoro-
logical Organization 2004). During the late 1990s, there
were several years with little or no precipitation, and in 2001,
only 175 mm of precipitation was reported for Kabul
(International Water Management Institute 2002). Precipi-
tation measured at the Kabul Airport (Fig. 3) between water
years 2004 and 2011 (Afghan water years are September
through August) was high in 2005 and 2007, low in 2004 and
2008, and average (about 300 mm) in other years. Since
2006, a countrywide climatic monitoring and reporting effort
has been active under the Agromet Project, a joint effort by
the USGS and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture,
Irrigation and Livestock and the Meteorological Authority
of the Ministry of Transport (http://afghanistan.cr.
usgs.gov/agro). This effort provides not only valuable
information for drought monitoring and flood forecasting but
maintaining this program will provide long-term climatic
data necessary to assess the sustainability of Afghanistan’s
water supply.
Based on the limited data available, the Kabul Basin has
a semi-arid climate where evaporation rates are high rela-
tive to annual total precipitation. Net groundwater recharge
from direct precipitation in the Kabul Basin is generally
near zero on an annual basis. Detailed information on the
groundwater flow, including analysis of historical stream-
flow measurements and isotopic and chemical analyses,
was used to develop a groundwater-flow model to assess
inflows from river leakage and irrigated areas in the Kabul
Basin (Mack et al. 2010). Irrigation provides an increased
surface area for water to infiltrate to the underlying aquifer.
Although irrigation increases evapotranspiration water
losses in the basin, it also captures water that would
otherwise flow out of the basin. The Panjshir, Shomali, and
Logar subbasins are less-populated, agricultural areas of
the Kabul Basin (Fig. 1) that are largely irrigated from
traditional surface water diversions. Groundwater-flow
simulations of the Kabul Basin accounted for leakage from
rivers and from irrigated areas, and incorporated isotopic
and chemical analysis of ground and surface water; Mack
et al. (2010) concluded that recharge to the aquifer is pri-
marily through leakage from rivers and irrigation.
1.2 Water use and wells
Drinking water in the Kabul Basin is generally supplied by
shallow (less than 30-m deep) family-owned or community
groundwater wells, although there are some municipal-
supply wells and associated distribution systems in urban
areas, there is no management of groundwater resources.
Thousands of shallow wells have been installed by non-
Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467 459
123
governmental organizations (NGOs) in the surficial sedi-
mentary aquifer in the Kabul Basin (Safi and Vijselaar
2007), and there are probably many more undocumented
wells, whereas few wells have been completed in the lower
semi-consolidated aquifer. For example, between 1997 and
2005, approximately 1,500 shallow-supply wells, with a
Fig. 2 Generalized surficial geology and cross section of the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan
460 Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467
123
median depth of 22 m, were installed by NGOs in the
Kabul Basin. About 1,000 of these wells are in three
southern subbasins that encompass the city of Kabul (Safi
and Vijselaar 2007). Of the wells with a reported status,
about 25 % in the city of Kabul and about 20 % in the
greater Kabul Basin were reported to be dry or inoperative.
The widespread decreases in water levels measured in rural
areas of the Kabul Basin in the early and middle 2000s may
be more a product of long-term drought than increased
water use.
Banks and Soldal (2002) reported groundwater-level
decreases of 4–6 m in Kabul during the drought period of
1998–2002 and as much as 10 m in some areas. Ground-
water-level decreases of 6–7 m were reported between the
1960s and early 2000s for some parts of the city (Houben
et al. 2009). Safi (2005) reports that water levels in the sur-
ficial sedimentary aquifer in the city of Kabul had decreased
by about 10 m between 1982 and 2005 because of increased
water use. The water-level decreases noted by these studies
in the city of Kabul, in the early to mid 2000s, likely represent
both the widespread effect of drought in the Kabul Basin and
locally the effects of increased water use.
There are few population data for Afghanistan and no
accurate census data. However, Afghanistan’s Central
Statistics Office estimated that the city of Kabul had a
population of 720,000 in 1978 (Montreal Engineering
Company 1978), which has now (2012) increased to about
4 million. A population distribution for the country (Fig. 1)
is provided by imagery-derived estimates determined from
the LandScan project (Oak Ridge National Laboratory
2012). Although droughts have caused periodic widespread
groundwater-level decreases in the Kabul Basin and else-
where in Afghanistan, continued decreases in the city of
Kabul are likely caused by increased groundwater with-
drawals for an increasing population. The United Nations
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(UNESCAP 2008) estimated per capita water consumption
in Afghanistan to be less than half that of other Central and
West Asian countries. With an improving standard of
living and a projected population of 9 million by 2057, an
estimated sixfold water consumption increase in the Kabul
Basin was simulated in the groundwater-flow model
described by Mack et al. (2010). The World Bank (2010)
in planning scenarios from a decision-support model of the
basin also projected increasing per capita water use,
associated with an improving standard of living and a
population of 6–8 million by 2020. New water uses asso-
ciated with potential mining activities along with associ-
ated economic growth are expected to contribute to the
increased demand for water in the Kabul Basin (World
Bank 2010).
2 Groundwater-level monitoring
The AGS has operated a monthly water-level monitoring
network of about 70 wells (Fig. 4) since 2004 (Akbari et al.
2007). The AGS water-level studies in the Kabul Basin
concentrated on wells that ranged in depth from 4.9 to
30 m that were equipped with hand pumps and electric
pumps. The Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees
(DACAAR) has monitored 10 wells in the Kabul Basin for
about the same period (Danish Committee for Aid to
Afghan Refugees 2011).
Groundwater levels in some parts of the Kabul Basin
had decreased substantially as a result of periods of below-
average precipitation and increased water use during the
2000s (Mack et al. 2010). Yet, in the late 2000s, water
levels in rural areas of the Kabul Basin increased in
response to increased precipitation (Fig. 3). Currently
(2012), the groundwater levels in some areas of the Kabul
Basin are increasing (decreasing depth to water), such as at
AGS monitoring well 20 in the Shomali subbasin in
northern Kabul Basin (Fig. 5). Otherwise, groundwater-
level decreases (increasing depth to water) in the city
appear to be continuing (Fig. 5). At AGS monitoring well
167 in the Central Kabul subbasin (Fig. 4), decreases of
about 3 m were recorded from 2004 to 2007 and about
15 m from 2008 to 2012 (Fig. 5).
Trends in groundwater levels from 2004 to 2012 in the
Kabul Basin were assessed at 66 wells measured by AGS
and 10 wells measured by DACAAR. The Seasonal
Kendall test (Hirsch and Slack 1984
; Helsel et al. 2006)
was used to determine whether trends were evident as
indicated by a significant slope in groundwater levels over
time. The slopes of trends (Fig. 6) indicate where
groundwater levels are significantly increasing (negative
slope), show no trend (slopes near zero), or groundwater
levels are decreasing (positive slope). From 2004 to 2012,
Fig. 3 Annual precipitation at the Kabul Airport, Afghanistan,
between 2004 and 2011
Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467 461
123
the median rate of groundwater-level increase, detected in
16 of 69 monitoring wells, was 0.31 m/yr. Groundwater-
level increases were greater near streams in the northern
Kabul Basin. Between 2004 and 2012, the median rate of
groundwater-level decrease measured in 19 of 69 moni-
toring wells was 0.76 m/yr—about twice the rate of
median water-level increase. Figure 6 indicates that
groundwater-level decreases are primarily in the city of
Kabul. Decreases are greatest farther from recharge
sources such as rivers or large mountain fronts.
The trend of groundwater-level decreases in the city of
Kabul appears to be greater from 2008 to 2012, the latter
half of the period of record (Fig. 5). Changes in the trend in
groundwater level with time were assessed at 19 monitoring
Fig. 4 The monitoring well
network in the Kabul Basin,
Afghanistan
462 Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467
123
wells in the city by separating the data for the period of
record into two groups: start of record (generally the fall of
2004) to August 2008 and September 2008 to 2012
(Table 1). For the 2004 to 2008 period, most wells (14)
indicated no trend, while four wells had an average rate of
groundwater-level decrease of 0.7 m/yr (with a maximum
rate of 0.9 m/yr). Well 208, adjacent to the Kabul River, had
a rate of groundwater-level increase of 2 m/yr (Fig. 7;
Table 1). However, for the 2008–2012 period, all but three
wells had a greater rate of groundwater-level decrease
(Fig. 7; Table 1). Overall, the rate of groundwater-level
decrease became more pronounced between the earlier and
later period of record. The average rate of decrease for the
2008–2012 period was 1.5 m/yr with rates of decrease of
more than 4 m/yr in the northwestern area of the city
(Fig. 7).
The Central Kabul subbasin area of the Kabul Basin,
which contains the main part of the city of Kabul and is
densely populated, is removed from the primary sources of
recharge in the basin, river and irrigation leakage, and
mountain-front recharge, by distance and topography
(Fig. 7). Additionally, the unconsolidated sediments in the
northern area of the Central Kabul subbasin are isolated
from recharge by Kabul River leakage by a conglomerate
ridge (between wells 170 and 172 in Fig. 7). All of these
factors contribute to the trend of groundwater-level
decreases in the city of Kabul.
3 Groundwater sustainability in the Kabul Basin
The regional groundwater-level trend in the Kabul Basin,
outside the city of Kabul, indicates no change to slight
increases in groundwater levels since the drought of the
early 2000s. However, groundwater levels in the city of
Kabul have decreased considerably since the early 2000s as
a result of increasing population and associated ground-
water use. Over the past 4 years (2008–2012), the rate of
groundwater-level decrease has accelerated in the city of
Kabul to more than 4 m/yr in some areas. The mean depth
of NGO installed community-supply wells in the Kabul
Basin is about 22 m, and the mean static (non-pumped)
depth to water in such wells is about 12 m. In such wells,
this leaves very little available water for pumping or to
accommodate seasonal fluctuations in water levels.
Although hydrologic, water use, and population data are
sparse in the Kabul Basin, the water use by military
installations, with an estimated total population of 75,000
in the Kabul Basin, is likely to be small relative to that of
the general population of 4 million in the basin. Detailed
records for groundwater withdrawals at military installa-
tions were not available to this study.
Most of the recharge in the Kabul Basin is from
surface water leakage, either by direct infiltration of
river water or by infiltration of river water diverted on
to irrigated areas. The sustainability of groundwater
supplies is greater in northernareasoftheKabulBasin
due to higher recharge from surface water leakage from
streams and large irrigated areas, and from mountain-
front recharge. With the exception of limited recharge
from leakage from the Kabul River, most of the city of
Kabul is farther from these sources of recharge, which
means the potential sustainability of groundwater water
supplies in the city is uncertain. The northwestern part
of the city of Kabul (Fig. 7), the western part of the
Central Kabul subbasin, is particularly susceptible, as
conglomerate ridges may form a barrier to groundwater
flow in shallow unconsolidated sediments recharged
from Kabul River leakage. Military installations in the
city of Kabul are primarily south of the conglomerate
ridge and may be better connected hydraulically to
sources of recharge from the Kabul and Logar Rivers.
However, installations in the Central Kabul subbasin
north of the conglomerate ridge, such as those at the
Kabul International Airport, areinanareathatlacksthe
recharge necessary for sustainability of groundwater
supplies, as evidenced from decreased groundwater
levels—a condition exacerbatedbyinterferencefrom
Fig. 5 Monthly depth to water at Afghanistan Geological Survey
wells a 20 and b 167 from September 2004 to 2012 in the Kabul
Basin, Afghanistan
Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467 463
123
multiple withdrawal wells in close proximity to one
another. Groundwater levels can be expected to undergo
further decreases without regional water resource man-
agement including careful siting of new wells and the
evaluation of increased withdrawals.
Based on groundwater-flow simulations of projected
increased water use in the city of Kabul, it is estimated that
about 40 % of existing wells in the surficial sedimentary
aquifer may become inoperable by 2057 (Mack et al.
2010). Decreasing groundwater levels have been reported
in the city of Kabul for several decades; however, long-
term water-level data are not available to confirm this
trend. Although only an 8-year groundwater-level record
was available and continued monitoring is needed, analysis
Fig. 6 Groundwater-level
trends from 2004 to 2012 in the
Kabul Basin, Afghanistan
464 Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467
123
of trends from 2004 to 2012 appears consistent with the
regional groundwater model analyses (Fig. 7) and implies
that current and increased rates of groundwater withdrawal
are not sustainable in the Central Kabul subbasin area of
the city of Kabul. Likewise, a World Bank (2010) scoping
report on development in the Kabul Basin finds that a
combination of new water storage projects (dams) and a
conveyance link to groundwater from the Panjsher subba-
sin would be needed to support population growth and the
Aynak mining project. Water balance estimates, based on
historical river flows (Mack et al. 2010), indicate that the
northern Kabul subbasins (Panjsher and Shomali) have 5
times the total inflows of the southern Kabul basins
(Central Kabul, Paghman and Upper Kabul, and Logar),
which supports the scoping report plan.
The potential development of mineral resources near
the city of Kabul will likely increase the demand for water
resources in the city as well; this study identifies settings
such as small basins isolated from recharge sources, where
groundwater levels may be most affected by withdrawals.
Groundwater in the lower semi-consolidated aquifer may
support additional withdrawals to help meet future water
needs, and groundwater-flow simulation can be a useful
tool for assessing the sustainability of groundwater man-
agement options (Mack et al. 2010). Assessment of the
sustainability of groundwater at military installations in
the Kabul Basin needs careful evaluation of the placement
and use of new withdrawal wells—particularly with
respect to existing water supplies for the surrounding
communities. Sustainable use of water in the Kabul Basin
will likely require regional management strategies that
include consideration of the use of both surface water
storage and groundwater resources. Continued climate and
groundwater-level monitoring, and establishment of a
surface water monitoring network, are needed for assess-
ment of water resources sustainability and informed
resource decision-making. However, given current (2012)
security issues in Afghanistan, resource monitoring
activities are difficult and management may be equally
challenging.
Table 1 Groundwater-level trends, from 2004 to 2012, at Afghanistan Geological Survey monitoring wells in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan
2004–2012 2004 to August 2008 September 2008–2012
Monitoring
well identifier
Correlation
coefficient
P value Slope Trend
(m/yr)
Correlation
coefficient
P value Slope Trend
(m/yr)
Correlation
coefficient
P value Slope Trend
(m/yr)
2 0.95 0.00 0.79 0.79 1.00 0.00 0.47 0.47 0.86 0.00 0.64 0.64
64 0.45 0.00 0.33 0.33 -0.52 0.07 -0.18 * 0.79 0.00 1.10 1.10
65 0.83 0.00 1.62 1.62 -0.25 0.74 -0.40 * 0.93 0.00 3.26 3.26
124 0.40 0.01 0.16 0.16 -0.18 0.60 -0.17 * 0.57 0.02 0.56 0.56
127 0.63 0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.07 1.00 -0.02 * 0.71 0.00 0.86 0.86
129 0.55 0.00 0.35 0.35 -0.22 0.55 -0.14 * 0.79 0.00 1.00 1.00
133 0.42 0.00 0.21 0.21 -0.20 0.51 -0.14 * 0.79 0.00 0.79 0.79
153 -0.16 0.30 -0.28 * -0.28 0.33 -0.87 * 0.29 0.28 0.74 *
157 0.24 0.11 0.16 * -0.52 0.05 -0.20 * 0.71 0.00 0.79 0.79
163 -0.32 0.25 -0.30 * -0.52 0.07 -0.38 * ** ** ** **
167 1.00 0.00 1.77 1.77 1.00 0.00 0.92 0.92 1.00 0.00 3.37 3.37
168 0.98 0.00 1.27 1.27 0.92 0.00 0.87 0.87 1.00 0.00 1.88 1.88
170 0.83 0.00 1.13 1.13 0.64 0.02 0.39 0.39 0.71 0.00 1.76 1.76
172 0.55 0.00 0.30 0.30 0.00 1.00 0.00 * 0.71 0.00 0.69 0.69
173 0.82 0.00 0.76 0.76 0.44 0.10 0.28 * 0.93 0.00 1.37 1.37
208 -0.47 0.00 -0.61 -0.61 -0.89 0.00 -1.94 -1.94 -0.07 0.88 -0.12 *
210 0.20 0.23 0.14 * -0.33 0.37 -0.14 * 0.61 0.01 0.46 0.46
219 0.65 0.00 2.40 2.40 0.44 0.10 2.26 * 0.86 0.00 4.52 4.52
220 0.36 0.04 1.65 1.65 -0.25 0.74 -
1.38 * 0.43 0.09 2.61 *
m meter, yr year, - negative indicates a groundwater-level increase
* Not significant at a P value of 0.05
** Insufficient data to calculate trend
Environ Syst Decis (2013) 33:457–467 465
123
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Fig. 7 Groundwater-level
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... Two decades back unconfined shallow aquifers were the main source of drinking water and other related needs (BGR 2003). However, this type of aquifer is always under the risk of polluting than deep aquifers (USGS 2013; Mack et al. 2013). Between the shallow and deep aquifers there is a layer called "aquitard" which acts against the contamination to pass from shallow into deep aquifers and brings the nitrate pollution about to decrease in deep aquifers (Houben et al. 2009;Mack et al. 2013). ...
... However, this type of aquifer is always under the risk of polluting than deep aquifers (USGS 2013; Mack et al. 2013). Between the shallow and deep aquifers there is a layer called "aquitard" which acts against the contamination to pass from shallow into deep aquifers and brings the nitrate pollution about to decrease in deep aquifers (Houben et al. 2009;Mack et al. 2013). However, considering soil layer, still the pollution rate gets raised in unconfined aquifers. ...
... The results also supported by (Ducci et al. 2020) where the authors evaluated the upward trend in groundwater nitrate concentration, (Koh et al. 2017) has been determined that land-use changes and groundwater management affect nitrate-nitrogen and chloride trends in groundwater and (Lopez et al. 2015) where an innovative procedure has been applied to assess multi-scale temporal trends in groundwater quality in France. The reason behind no trend in nitrate pollution can be as a result of considerable decrease of groundwater level in some parts of the Kabul Basin (Mack et al. 2013). The slight decrease in 2010 demonstrates that due to slight increase in rainfall an increase in groundwater of ...
Article
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Groundwater contamination has been on the rise in Afghanistan. It has become a major concern among the policy makers. This paper aims to propose practical options for the management of nitrate contamination in one of Afghanistan’s groundwater polluted provinces, Kabul. The management framework utilized Mann-Kendall and Sen Slope tests to detect nitrate trend and geostatistical analysis option in ArcGIS 10.5 to assess the nitrate change. To explore the impact of various management options, a number of legislative documents were reviewed. The results indicate a decline in the nitrate storage of Kabul aquifers from 108 mg/L in 2005 to 0.044 mg/L in 2010. Considering the whole period of the study, the results show that the nitrate volumes remain lower than the nitrate concentration range proposed by World Health Organization (50 mg/L). Groundwater dynamics in Kabul aquifers were influenced by nitrate derived from precipitation and nitrate input from root zones in agricultural areas. Finally, different management options for groundwater pollution from nitrate and corresponding authorities, incorporated urban, rural and agriculture, were proposed. It is expected that this study will help policy makers to better manage the nitrate storage of Kabul aquifers by implementing the proposed management options.
... The Kabul River basin(KRB) in Pakistan, extends from 71° 1′ 55′′-72° 56′ 0′′ East to 33° 20′ 9′′-36° 50′ 0′′ North. The river originates near the Unai pass from Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and flows towards the east, and covers a distance of approximately 700 km to ultimately drains into the Indus River in Pakistan near Attock (Mack et al. 2013). The whole basin is comprised of an area of 87,499 km 2 . ...
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The hydrological extremes like floods and drought are increasing in recent decades all over the world but particularly in South Asia. Pakistan ranked 5th most vulnerable as per the climate risk index because it is susceptible to floods and droughts across various spaces and times. The recent evidence of climate change led us to study the floods for a high-altitude river basin, the Kabul River basin (KRB), Pakistan. The region is customarily influenced by flooding. Accordingly, the study was planned to examine the most likely impact of climate change on extreme floods under high-end warming scenario RCP 8.5. The multi-model ensemble from CMIP5 along with HEC-HMS was employed to quantify the impact of climate change on extreme floods. The main research results represented that the projected flood magnitude has been decreased in the future period (2016–2100) as compared to the historical period (1981–2015), for the Kabul River at Nowshera under RCP 8.5. The floods of 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 years are projected to be decreased by 2%, 24%, 23%, 16%, 11%, and 17% respectively. The magnitude of 3-day rainfall events of all durations is projected to decrease throughout the basin. Therefore, the corresponding magnitude of extreme flood events will also decrease in the KRB, Pakistan. However, the frequency of the 3-day rainfall events of 2, 5, and 10 years return period has been increased in the future period (2016–2100) as compared to the historical period (1981–2015). This frequent occurrence of extreme rainfall events can be challenging to mitigate the flood hazard. The findings of the study will be vital to improving flood management under changing climate in the region.
... With the depletion of groundwater resources and substantial losses in surface water reservoirs through evaporation, the restoration of groundwater aquifers can be a strategy to enhance the sustainability of the groundwater resources in the Kabul Plain aquifer within the Upper Indus River Basin (UIRB) (Figure 1). Previous studies show a decreasing trend in groundwater levels and deteriorating groundwater quality [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. Therefore, improved groundwater management is needed to ensure an adequate water supply to the expanding city. ...
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Groundwater is the main source of water for drinking, household use, and irrigation in Kabul; however, the water table is dropping due to the excessive extraction over the past two decades. The groundwater restoration criteria selection mainly depends on the techniques used to recharge the aquifer. The design of infiltration basins, for example, requires different technical criteria than the installation of infiltration wells. The different set of parameters is relevant to water being infiltrated at the surface in comparison with water being injected into the aquifers. Restoration of the groundwater resources are complicated and expensive tasks. An inexpensive preliminary investigation of the potential recharge areas, especially in developing countries such as Afghanistan with its complex Upper Indus River Basin, can be reasonably explored. The present research aims to identify the potential recharge sites through employing GIS and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and combining remote sensing information with in situ and geospatial data obtained from related organizations in Afghanistan. These data sets were employed to document nine thematic layers which include slope, drainage density, rainfall, distance to fault, distance to river channel, lithology, and ground water table, land cover, and soil texture. All of the thematic layers were allocated and ranked, based on previous studies, and field surveys and extensive questionnaire surveys carried out with Afghan experts. Based on the collected and processed data output, the groundwater recharge values were determined. These recharge values were grouped into four classes assessing the suitability for recharge as very high (100%), high (63%), moderate (26%), and low (10%). The relative importance of the various geospatial layers was identified and shows that slope (19.2%) is the most important, and faults (3.8%) the least important. The selection of climatic characteristics and geological characteristics as the most important criteria in the artificial recharge of the aquifer are investigated in many regions with good access to data and opportunities for validation and verifications. However, in regions with limited data due to the complexities in collecting data in Afghanistan, proper researching with sufficient data is a challenge. The novelty of this research is the cross-disciplinary approach with incorporation of a compiled set of input data with the set of various criteria (nine criteria based on which layers are formed, including slope, drainage density, rainfall, distance to fault, distance to river channel, lithology, ground water table, land cover, and soil texture) and experts’ questionnaires. The AHP methodology expanded with the cross-disciplinary approach by adding the local experts´ questionnaires survey can be very handy in areas with limited access to data, to provide the preliminary investigations, and reduce expenses on the localized expensive and often dangerous field works.
... There is little census data for Afghanistan but Afghanistan's Central Statistics Office (ACSO) assessed that Kabul city had a population of 720,000 in 1978, which has recently increased to 4 million in 2012 (Mack et al., 2013). The Kabul city population has increased to 4.8 and 5 million in 2015 and 2018 respectively, which shows a total 15% of Afghanistan population. ...
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Ullah et al.: Analysis of municipal solid waste management in Afghanistan, current and future prospects: A case study of Kabul city-2485-APPLIED ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH 20(3):2485-2507. Abstract. In Asian countries like Afghanistan, the quantity of municipal solid waste (MSW) is rapidly increasing because of increasing population and economic developments. This increased MSW amount and its inappropriate management has severe impacts on Kabul city. The purpose of the current study was to find out the MSW sources, generation rate, physiochemical properties, current and future management practices in Kabul city, Afghanistan. A questionnaire survey of a total number with 1,150 questionnaires was conducted on the basis of stratified random sampling in January, 2021. Quantification/composition of waste was determined by using a standard method of ASTM-D5231-92. The average MSW generation ratio of four (04) categories of residential areas such as (high, middle, low income and rural areas) were considered and ranged from 0.28±0.10 kilograms per capita per day (kg/c/d) for low income or rural areas to 0.48±0.10 kg/c/d for high income areas with the maximum quantity of food waste (FW) at 52.4% of the total waste, followed by paper 20.3% and plastic 17.4% in residential areas. Hence, the total generation of MSW was 3,200 tons/day. The mean per capita FW production in Kabul city was 0.35 kilograms/day or 120.10 kilograms/year. MSW includes of fifteen (15) different types, with organic waste >70% as a major constituent of the MSW in the Kabul city. Outcomes of the current study might help the government to design and operate a complete municipal solid waste management (MSWM) structure for Kabul city and other growing cities all over the country. Keywords: solid waste, physiochemical analysis, solid waste management, 3R's approach, awareness Ullah et al.: Analysis of municipal solid waste management in Afghanistan, current and future prospects: A case study of Kabul city-2486-APPLIED ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH 20(3):2485-2507.
... The elevation of KRB varies greatly, from 400 m a.s.l in the valleys in the east to 6000 m a.s.l in the north (Fig. 1). It covers 700 km flowing through 11 provinces before connecting to the Indus River in Pakistan (Lashkaripour & Hussaini, 2008;Mack et al., 2013). In Afghanistan, four seasons can be distinguished, spring (from March to May), summer (from June to August), fall (from September to November), and winter (from December to February). ...
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The variations in vegetation coverage (defined as the area with Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) > 0.2) and atmospheric patterns occurring during various vegetation seasons in the Kabul River Basin (KRB) in Afghanistan during 2001–2019 were analyzed. The analysis was done based on the NDVI, land surface temperature (LST), precipitation images from the remote sensing data, and geopotential height and temperature at 500 hPa from the retrospective datasets. The results revealed that the vegetation dynamics in KRB are impacted by both precipitation and LST. In the winter season, the LST has a more substantial role in shaping the vegetation dynamics than precipitation, while it is on contrary during the summer season. Cluster analysis showed that the four atmospheric patterns (e.g., Sub-Tropical High Pressure (STHP), Western European ridge-the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea trough, Caspian Sea ridge (CSR), and the Mediterranean Sea trough-Central to Eastern Iran trough) can be identified and connected with the periods with the highest and the lowest vegetation coverage (VC) anomalies in the study area. The CSR and the Mediterranean Sea trough-the Central to Eastern Iran trough are the patterns responsible for the most positive VC anomalies. At the same time, the STHP and Western Europe ridge-the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea trough are responsible for the most negative VC anomalies. As the atmospheric patterns have a significant role in shaping the vegetation status, a quick alert system to prevent agricultural areas from water or temperature stresses can be developed based on observations of them.
... The previous simulations show a direct relationship between the behavior of meteorological factors used in the runoff modeling, denoting an increase in temperature (from 17.6 to 20.9°C), and a decrease in precipitation (from 806.4 to 735.6 mm) for the study area. This fact indicates that climate change is the main driver in piezometry change; even so, a complementary study of other factors of influence in the piezometric evolution (such as the change in land use and anthropogenic activities) could provide a clearer picture of the behavior and change of surface (Mohammed et al. 2016;Yan et al. 2016) and groundwater resources (Mack et al. 2013;Owuor et al. 2016). ...
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The agricultural and urban water requirements in the Angulo River basin (Mexico) along with land-use change and deforestation have caused great pressure on the region's groundwater availability. The potential climate change impact on groundwater levels of the Zacapu and Pastor Ortiz aquifers is evaluated in this study, using the climate model CMIP5, the hydrological module EVALHID, and the groundwater module AQUIVAL. The regional outputs from three Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) climate scenarios (RCP 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5), for near future (2015–2039) and distant future (2075–2099) projections, indicate that the average annual temperature is expected to increase while a decrease in precipitation is projected over the basin. The assessment of infiltration and water level evolution in these groundwater systems indicates an infiltration reduction between 1.5 and 23%, producing a static level drop between 20 and 30 m in both aquifers. HIGHLIGHTS A groundwater piezometry decrease is assessed as the RCP scenarios increase.; The most considerable effects of temperature and precipitation data are related to winter and spring.; The precipitation behavior is similar throughout the basin, with a small increase in the RCP 6.0 scenario.;
... Sustainable development strategies and recognizing these strategies as an important step in achieving social justice also reveal the importance and necessity of access to resources (Cetin, 2015). Also, the evaluation of factors affecting groundwater such as geological formations, hydrological, and land-use characteristics plays a vital role in developing targeted programs for the exploitation of the groundwater resources (Halder et al., 2020;Mack et al., 2013). Xu et al. (2005) and Lerner and Harris (2009) reflected that the groundwater abstraction and water demand were interrelated with land-use factor. ...
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Due to climate change and the decrease of surface water resources recently, groundwater resources, especially aqueducts, have special importance to meet various human requirements in arid and semi-arid regions. With the aim of aqueduct water withdrawal (AWW) estimating for agricultural uses, the present research was implemented, in Golpayegan and Kashan regions of Iran; classified in non-uniform and uniform climate zones with water scarcity situation. The AWW variables were estimated based on four scenarios including (1) aqueduct local features, (2) hydrological, (3) land-use, and (4) combined scenarios. The [(Mother-well Depth (MWD), Aqueduct Channel Length (ACL)), (minimum flow rate (QMin), maximum flow rate (QMax)), and (Cultivated Area (CA), Orchard Area (OA))] variables reagent the first to third scenarios, respectively. Estimation of AWW was operated via single and Wavelet-hybrid (W-hybrid with de-noising) Soft-computing (SC) approaches, including artificial neural networks (ANNs), Wavelet-ANN (WANNs), adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS), Wavelet-ANFIS (WANFIS), gene expression programming (GEP), and Wavelet-GEP (WGEP). The WGEP model's efficiency with the hybrid characteristics of MWD, ACL, QMin, QMax, CA, and OA variables was recommended as the best model to estimate AWW variables without climate conditions’ effects. With increasing levels of decomposition in wavelet approach and noise reduction, the performance of the models for estimating AWW increased. Also, the findings revealed that the implementation of the proposed method in uniform climates can have a higher performance than non-uniform climates. The achieved values of RMSE for the combined factor of WGEP models were 23.249 and 17.227 (×10³ m³), for estimating AWW in Golpayegan and Kashan, respectively. The performance of WGEP was excellent (R > 0.920) in the estimation of AWW in both climatic types for maximum extreme amounts. Abstracting mathematical formulation of GEP and WGEP models is part of the research finding profound effects implementing policies related to Integrated Water Resources Management to protect the aqueduct’s destruction by excessive consumption.
... Groundwater reservoirs may moreover perform a modulating role between seasons, with excess surface water resources infiltrating in wet periods to be used in times when water is scarce. Around the city of Kabul, groundwater levels have however dropped considerably over the last decades (Mack et al., 2013). Similarly, on the lower Indus Plains, groundwater resources are an important supplementary source for urban and agricultural water demand (Basharat et al., 2015;Biemans et al., 2019;Wijngaard et al., 2018). ...
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The densely populated plains of the lower Indus Basin largely depend on water resources originating in the mountains of the transboundary upper Indus Basin. Recent studies have improved our understanding of this upstream–downstream linkage and the impact of climate change. However, water use in the mountainous part of the Indus and its hydropolitical implications have been largely ignored. This study quantifies the comparative impact of upper Indus water usage, through space and time, on downstream water availability under future climate change and socio-economic development. Future water consumption and relative pressure on water resources will vary greatly across seasons and between the various sub-basins of the upper Indus. During the dry season, the share of surface water required within the upper Indus is high and increasing, and in some transboundary sub-basins future water requirements exceed availability during the critical winter months. In turn this drives spatiotemporal hotspots to emerge in the lower Indus where seasonal water availability is reduced by over 25 % compared to natural conditions. This will play an important, but previously unaccounted for, compounding role in the steep decline of per capita seasonal water availability in the lower Indus in the future, alongside downstream population growth. Increasing consumption in the upper Indus may thus locally lead to water scarcity issues, and increasingly be a driver of downstream water stress during the dry season. Our quantified perspective on the evolving upstream–downstream linkages in the transboundary Indus Basin highlights that long-term shared water management here must account for rapid socio-economic change in the upper Indus and anticipate increasing competition between upstream and downstream riparian states.
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Hydrological models play a key role to simulate and assess climate and land use/cover (LULC) change impacts on hydrology in a watershed. In this study, the impact of climate and LULC change was investigated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The simulated and observed streamflow showed a good agreement. Both Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) and coefficient of determination (R2) were found to be greater than 0.7 during the calibration (1985–2002) and validation (2003–2012) period. The water balance components were simulated with inputs from downscaled Global Climate Models (GCMs) data (i.e., future scenario (2030–2100) relative to a baseline period (1974–2004)) under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, and hypothetical generated LULC change scenarios. All GCMs projected an increase in temperature over the Kabul River Basin (KRB), whereas there was a lack of agreement on projected precipitation among GCMs under both emission and future scenarios. Water yield (WYLD) and evapotranspiration (ET) were projected to decrease in the 21st century. Average annual WYLD was projected to increase under the agriculture-dominant scenario, whereas it decreased under forest and grassland-dominant scenarios. These results are valuable for relevant agencies and stakeholders to adopt measures to counter the negative impacts of climate and LULC change on water resources.
Article
The Hindukush‐Karakoram‐Himalayas (HKH) mountainous range supplies water to ten river basins serving eight countries. The present study focuses on the river basins located within the HKH region in Pakistan. The modified Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT+) was used to split the research region into 13 sub‐basins. The Mann‐Kendall, Sen's slope, Innovative Polygon Trend Analysis (IPTA), and Innovative Trend Analysis (ITA) methods were used for the monthly precipitation time series. The Shyok sub‐basin (Central Karakoram) experienced rising trends for all seasons, while the Southwestern Karakoram (Hunza) showed a rising trend only for the Winter. The Hindukush Mountain Range feeds five sub‐basins (Gilgit, Chitral, Swat, Kabul, and Kurram). The Gilgit and Kurram sub‐basins observed an upward trend for all seasons. A falling trend in Spring and transition from Spring (falling) to Summer (rising) was observed for the Swat and Kabul sub‐basins. The Chitral sub‐basin received rising precipitation in Spring, Summer and Autumn, whereas no trend was observed during Winter. In the Southern Himalayas (Kanshi and Jhelum), no trend was observed in Winter and Autumn and a falling trend in Spring and Summer. The Kunhar sub‐basin (Southern Himalaya) showed rising trends in Winter, Spring, and Autumn. In contrast, the Soan sub‐basin (Eastern Himalaya) has no trend in Spring, and other seasons show rising trends. The sub‐basin Upper Indus experienced a rising trend for Autumn, Winter, and Summer, while a downward trend was observed in Spring. The IPTA and ITA approaches are much more sensitive than the Mann‐Kendall method in detecting trends. Although the innovative methods are mostly compatible with each other (90%), the IPTA presents additional information about trend transitions between successive parts of the time series. The results presented in this study are an advancement in the investigations made so far in this region, and will help to understand the climate and hydrology of this region. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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This is one of a series of 32 1:250,000-scale geologic maps of Afghanistan published in 2005.
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Over the past 100 years, hydrogeology has played a role in most military operations undertaken by the USA. The first significant application by US forces took place during World War I, on the Western Front. America’s entry into World War II highlighted the need for military hydrogeologists once again, and a combination of civilian and uniformed hydrogeologists provided valuable support to the war effort, notably by terrain analysis. During the Cold War, the United States Geological Survey Military Geology Branch conducted military hydrogeological studies, and in 1985 the US Army Corps of Engineers created the Water Detection Response Team (WDRT) to provide hydrogeological expertise to military well-drilling units. During the Persian Gulf War of 1990–1991, groundwater was important for sustaining troops living in the northern Saudi Arabian desert. Operations in Bosnia and Kosovo later in that decade required the assistance of the WDRT in obtaining adequate groundwater supplies for base camps. Current military operations in Afghanistan rely on groundwater as a significant source for most US bases. In combination, uniformed and civilian geologists serving in a variety of roles to support American troops have located water supplies essential to the success of US military operations around the globe.
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Severe drinking water shortage affects all resident of the Kabul river basin. Two and a half decades of civil war in Afghanistan (it began in late 1978) have resulted in widespread environmental degradation and water resource development throughout the country. The war has already finished and, therefore, water resource management for supplying water is one of the most important tasks for Afghanistan’s government. The Kabul river basin which is the most populated area in the country is located in the eastern part of Afghanistan. This article deals with the water resource properties of the Kabul river basin and also water demand in the important cities of the basin, such as Kabul, the capital and the largest city in the country. Also a few suggestions for providing water for domestic and agriculture purposes in short term, medium time and long term have been discussed.
Article
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Statistical tests for monotonic trend in seasonal (eg monthly) hydrologic time series are commonly confounded by some of the following problems: nonnormal data, missing values, seasonality, censoring and serial dependence. An extension of the Mann-Kendall test for trend (designed for such data) is presented here. Because the test is based entirely on tanks, it is robust against nonnormality and censoring.-from Authors
Article
During the years from 1965 until 1967, a German/Afghan team carried out a number of geoelectrical resistivity measurements according to the “Four-Point-Method” within the framework of Technical Assistance to Afghanistan. On two selected objects of investigation, i.e. Kabul (69°10 E, 34°30′N) and Zarkašan (67°40′E, 32° 54.5′N), the possibilities and limits of the resistivity method in the exploration of useful groundwater resources, of the geological structure, and in the treatment of problems pertaining to mineral deposits in Afghanistan are demonstrated. In connection with geological mapping these geophysical investigations provided certain conceptions on the structure and the stratigraphy of the intramontane basins in the region south of the Hindukush mountains. Field interpretations are checked by boreholes and by computed model graphs. Geoelektrische Widerstandsmessungen nach der Vierpunktmethode sind in den Jahren 1965–67 im Rahmen der technischen Hilfe in Afghanistan durch eine deutsch-afghanische Arbeitsgruppe ausgefuhrt worden. Anhand der zwei ausgewahlten Untersuchungsobjekte Kabul (69°10′E, 34°30′N) und Zarkasan (64°40′E, 32°54.5′N) wird gezeigt, welche Moglichkeiten und Grenzen die Widerstandsmethode bei der Erkundung nutzbarer Grundwasserleiter, des geolo-gischen Baus sowie bei der Bearbeitung lagerstättenkundlicher Fragen in Afghanistan hat. Im Zusammenhang mit geologischen Kartierungsarbeiten wurden mit Hilfe dieser geophysikalischen Untersuchungen Vorstellungen über den Bau und die Stratigraphie der intramontanen Becken im Gebiet südlich des Hindukusch entwickelt. Die Feldinter-pretation wurde durch Bohrungen und durch berechnete Modelkurven geprüft.
Article
A 'first pass' groundwater management policy has been developed for use by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Afghanistan, designed to prevent derogation of existing traditional water sources, aquifer over-abstraction and chemical deterioration of soil and groundwater quality. Key elements include (1) continuing promotion of groundwater as a drinking water source, (2) a presumption against use of motorised pumps to abstract groundwater for irrigation unless other options (surface water, qanats) are not available, (3) the use of groundwater for irrigation as a temporary alternative to surface water (i.e. a strategy for drought survival) rather than as a long-term development policy, (4) limiting groundwater abstraction to a long-term average of 11 s(-1) km(-2), (5) siting irrigation wells at least 500 in from other groundwater sources and (6) analysing irrigation groundwater for electrical conductivity, sodium absorption ratio, boron and residual sodium carbonate alkalinity. Analyses of these parameters indicate that groundwater from some areas is of dubious suitability for irrigation. In some villages and towns, groundwater contains elevated nitrate and faecal bacteria concentrations, probably derived from latrines, sewage or animal wastes.
Article
Shallow groundwater currently represents the main source for water supply in Kabul. Detailed information on the hydrogeology of the Kabul basin is therefore needed to improve the supply situation and to develop sustainable concepts of groundwater use. The basin is situated at the intersection of three major fault systems and comprises three major aquifers, all consisting of coarse sandy to gravely material originating from the surrounding mountains. The aquifers were deposited by several rivers draining the basin. Marl is the basal layer of the aquifers. Usually the aquifers are covered by loess loams which are an important feature in groundwater protection. The coarse aquifer material has high permeability. Deeper parts are affected by cementation of pore spaces, resulting in formation of semi-diagenetic conglomerates which decrease well yields. The main groundwater recharge occurs after the snowmelt from direct exfiltration from the rivers and from foothill infiltration. The high withdrawals of the last few years and a steadily rising population have led to a strong overexploitation of the groundwater resource as indicated by falling groundwater levels and deteriorating groundwater quality.
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Report on groundwater balance deficiency and contamination in Kabul City Groundwater monitoring, evaluation of groundwater data Afghanistan—an overview of groundwater resources and challenges
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Safi H (2005) Report on groundwater balance deficiency and contamination in Kabul City. DACAAR Kabul, Afghanistan, 7 pp Safi H, Vijselaar L (2007) Groundwater monitoring, evaluation of groundwater data. Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR), Kabul Uhl VW (2006) Afghanistan—an overview of groundwater resources and challenges. Ground Water 44(5):626–627