Afghanistan: UNDP assists in flood prevention at Chak-e Wardak Dam

from UN Development Programme
Published on 30 Apr 2005
As the heavy snowfalls of winter melted into spring, potential disaster lay await in WardakValleywhere an antiquated, badly maintained dam almost broke its banks. Chak-e Wardak Dam lies at the top of a deep valley extending from Wardak to Loghar; countless villages are situated in the valley floor, each vulnerable to the impending floodwaters. Constructed prior to WWI and the oldest dam in Afghanistan, Chak-e Wardak Dam had been poorly maintained. The rusted main gates, and even the safety gate, were jammed shut and impossible to lift, thereby preventing the water to flow through. Surplus water was crossing over the top of the gates causing a pressure that was soon to make the entire dam structure break.

UNDP, the Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund, and the Ministry of Energy and Water, took emergency action to address the threat. The co-operative effort saw a rapid response through immediate financing, planning and implementation of a 16-metre ancillary gate that could hold the water whilst the rusted gates were lifted and repaired. As the waterflow came under control, the pressure was eased off the dam structure and the risk of flooding ceased. Villagers who had evacuated themselves in fear of the floods, returned to their homes and farms.

The entire cost of the project was US$18,000, a small amount of money that had untold affect on the lives and livelihoods of Wardak residents. Central to the success of this project was the timely co-operation of all participants: UNDP, AETF and the Ministry of Energy and Water.