Sound water management improves local economy
Like some 220 communities throughout Northern Afghanistan, the village of Kalta Khoros is seeing new life spring from a more equitable distribution of water resources.
When mobilization for one of ACTED’s social water management projects first began in early 2010, it was Sayed’s role to travel to the more remote areas of Faryab province to survey water resources. Ten kilometres outside of the dusty village of Khwaja Herak in Northern Qaisar district, he was startled to find signs of human occupation. There had been a village there long before the war, the village of Kalta Khoros, but it had lain deserted for years and had been erased from all government maps. The two tribes who had lived there, the Ferozayee and Ramzi, had fled to Shaheed Refugee camp in Herat to escape the mounting tensions, poor water resources and limited economic opportunities in Northern Qaisar. Sayed discovered that 120 families had returned, grown desperately disillusioned by their uncomfortable life in exile. It was then that they were informed of and invited to join the Khwaja Herak water users’ association.
The difference between 2010 and 2012 could not be starker. As Rahmad said, “In the last three years, we’ve managed to open a water gateway and really reduce the wasting of water. Before this, we didn’t have enough water to irrigate our lands. Now we could even irrigate more than 150 jiribs (75 acres) if we wanted to. When the water is divided properly, then there is enough water for all our needs. No one has to be harmed.
When we first started this [water users’ association], I had fifteen jiribs (7.5 acres) of land but I could only use six of them. Now, there is enough water for all fifteen! Furthermore, after the ACTED training I started to experiment rotating my crops and I was able to get a second harvest from my land. I can now sell off my extra crops in the market and can afford a pretty comfortable life. I have informed all my relations who are still away about the facilities we have now. With any luck they’ll all come home soon. It such a thrill to be able to offer more and more crops to our village, our province, and our country.”