Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Improving local resilience to water shortages and droughts

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Afghanistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, ranking 31st out of 195 countries. As a consequence of climate change, Afghanistan has seen a reduction of underground water, experienced severe drought throughout the country and suffered the effects of extreme heat. Weather extremes are set to worsen in the coming years if mitigation and adaptation measures are not put in place. The most recent severe droughts occurred in 2008-2010, 2013-2014 and 2018-2019. Water scarcity is exacerbated by population growth, inefficient irrigation practices, and deforestation.

USGS (2009) estimates that at least 60 percent of shallow groundwater-supply wells in some parts of Afghanistan are under threat of drying up. Local communities in Badghis Province in the Western Region of Afghanistan have expressed concern about decreasing water availability. According to a 2014 Rapid Needs Assessment conducted by World Vision International (WVI) in Badghis, 91 percent of respondents had concerns about diminishing levels of water resources. If water resources continue to diminish, the impacts may be dire. The impact of the most recent drought in 2018 in Badghis Province was crop failure and the displacement of over 298,000 in search of food and water.

Over the last five years, WVI has been developing a range of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in order to enhance local resilience.