Since its beginning, WGRA has pursued some research topics in the field of water resources and geotechnics in pursuit of its goals, as well as a joint research conference in the field of water resources and geotechnical engineering with some national and international institutions, including USAID, AZMA and GREEN.

Afghanistan First Joint Water & Geotechnical Researchers Gathering

Conference Summary:

On August 09, 2020, AZMA Vocational Insatiate in partnership with Green Social Research Institute (GSRO) and Afghanistan Water Resources & Geotechnical Association (AF-WRGA) under the USAID Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Program to present findings of the PEER Project, organized a one-day conference titled, Afghanistan First Joint Water & Geotechnical Researchers Gathering. This event was held on 9th August 2020 from 09:30 am to 05:00 pm with lunch and prayer break at Khayyam Hotel, Herat, Afghanistan with over 50 participants from different universities, CSOs, Development Organizations, water and geotechnical sectors and organizations, water experts and the related government organizations. They came together to discuss the current status water and geotechnical sectors in Afghanistan and to discuss the role of government, people, whole community and future plans. The conference was a gateway for further gathering in Afghanistan to play their roles in the fields of Teaching and Learning, Research, External Leadership and Operation and Governance. This report provides a summary of the key issues discussed at the conference and summary of every presentation.

Conference Objectives:

The aim behind holding this gathering is discussion about water and geotechnical challenges in Afghanistan. The knowledge outputs for discussion include:

1) Impact of climate change on Afghanistan Water Resources

2) Beneficiary Framework in Afghanistan Trans-boundary River Basins

3) Numerical Modeling of Afghanistan Embankment Dams

4) Integrated Urban Water Management

5) Sharing Current Initiatives and Establish Level of Knowledge Sharing and Identify Key Gaps

The Conference was promoted via mail, to Water and Geotechnical practitioners; managers of water locations / facilities; researchers into water and geotechnical sector; staff / volunteers / professionals from water and geotechnical organizations; government employees working in water department and geotechnical promotion professionals. A copy of the conference program is attached in appendix A. Over 50 delegates from across Afghanistan attended the conference, with a broad cross section of the Water and Geotechnical Community being represented from key government departments, agencies, and statutory authorities. The conference achieved these objectives through the delivery of the keynote presentations, state & territory reports and concurrent sessions, which shared best practice and research. It also provided information sharing and reflection on the current water and geotechnical plan. Through the round table discussions at the end of each session, discussion mostly turned around the presentations and finally some directions and recommendations were provided for future of water and geotechnical activities in Afghanistan.

Impact of Climate Change on the Performance of Urban Drainage Network

 “Case Studies of Herat City Runoff Collection Network”

Urban runoff management is one of the most important challenging issues for the municipalities of large cities, which with the increase of urbanization and urban development and land use changes, causes a significant increase in impermeable areas. In the absence of a sustainable drainage network, this will cause local flooding in urban areas. Urban floods themselves cause environmental and infrastructure damage, including environmental pollution by mixing sewage and surface water, pollution of drinking water in the case of water supply network leakage, damage to urban infrastructure includes roads, telecommunication networks and so on. In addition to the issues mentioned, in recent years, the phenomenon of climate change has had a significant impact on the efficiency of the urban drainage network. The phenomenon of climate change has shown its effect in the form of increasing the intensity of rainfall, changing the rainy season and finally increasing the volume of runoff. As it is known, the increase in the intensity and volume of rainfall in the absence of a suitable runoff collection network will cause urban floods. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of climate change on the performance of runoff collection network in Herat City. For this purpose and in order to evaluate the effects of climate change, IDF curves (Intensity Duration Frequency Curves) have been considered with different scenarios according to the future changes in rainfall intensity and these curves have been updated. Storm water management model has been used to analyze the status of runoff collection network in Herat city. The results of this research will be very important to identify the flooded areas and to optimize the proposed new runoff collecting and conveyance network.

Ground water management in urban areas “Herat City as a case study”

Afghanistan has substantial groundwater resources with the potential of around 18 km3 renewable groundwater.  At present, around 3 km3 is used annually, with water drawn from springs, karezes and shallow and deep wells.  Groundwater provides a high (but unknown) proportion of domestic and industrial water supply, since surface water in many areas is ephemeral, polluted or both.  Kabul city and regional centers such as Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif are fully reliant on groundwater.  Groundwater levels are declining in many areas, notably in Kabul and Farah, due to lack of effective regulation and excess pumping causing many shallow wells to dry and requiring deepening or replacement.  Due to a number of factors, shallow aquifers in particular are increasingly polluted, causing morbidity and child mortality and requiring drinking water to be boiled by households sourcing their water supplies from groundwater.

Herat is one of the provinces of Afghanistan where groundwater is one of the main sources of drinking water and agriculture. Excessive groundwater withdrawal and reduced rainfall due to climate change have caused a significant drop in groundwater level. On the other hand, the lack of a stable network for collecting and disposing of municipal wastewater has polluted groundwater and as a result has endangered the health of city residents and the environment.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of municipal wastewater on groundwater quality in Herat. For this purpose, qualitative and quantitative groundwater information collected from observation wells over several years and world-well known models will be used for will be used.