Afghanistan: USAID Begins Canal Rehabilitation in Baharak District

News and Press Release
Originally published

BADAKHSHAN, AFGHANISTAN | APRIL 14, 2011 — Rehabilitation of the Sakha Canal in Baharak District, Badakhshan has begun with funding support from USAID. This 7.2 kilometer canal, the longest irrigation canal in Badakhshan Province will serve 2,400 farming families on 648 hectares of arable land after repairs are completed. Governor of Badakhshan Dr. Shah Wali Adeeb, district governors, the mayor of Feyzabad, heads of the Department of Agriculture and Irrigation and Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and USAID officials attended a ceremony today marking the commencement of the renovation work.

The Governor of Badakhshan, Baharak District Governor, local community development centers, and the Department of Agriculture and Irrigation prioritized the canal project for rehabilitation because the existing structure was badly damaged by several seasons of flooding, leaving it filled with silt and debris. Without a functioning canal, local farmers have struggled to irrigate their crops. USAID assistance will fund dredging the entire length of the 7.2km canal; reinforcing, lining , and covering two kilometers of the canal with stone masonry; constructing a 140m retaining wall, six culverts and a spillway; and further excavation and widening of the canal. The project will rehabilitate a vital community asset and provide local workers with an opportunity to earn much-needed cash income.

“The canal has been broken for about three years and it has been difficult for people who farm here,” said Fazluddin, a local community member who has helped to plan the project. “If we have enough water, we can even cultivate twice a year and this will be very helpful for us. The benefit of this canal is that everyone in the area will have enough water, and with more water, we will be able to convert some rain-fed areas into irrigated land. Right now, we have some water from other canals, but it is never enough and we have to take turns using it.”

Through its Incentives Driving Economic Alternations – North, East and West project, USAID plans to construct 13 irrigation infrastructure projects in Badakhshan Province that will rehabilitate about 50km of canal structures in 2011 and 2012. These projects support the development of high-value agriculture and give workers an opportunity to participate in improving village infrastructure.

The Sakha Canal rehabilitation will help fulfill USAID’s objectives of improving access to irrigation and strengthening natural resource-based livelihoods.

USAID is accelerating sustainable economic development in the northeastern region by providing support through a wide variety of projects. This approach is helping to create long-term and sustainable economic development across many sectors.

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