10 USAID-funded projects bring clean drinking water to Herat's Adraskan district

By Omar

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched 10 water supply projects in Adraskan district of Herat province to help alleviate the effects of drought. The projects include the construction of two solar-powered water networks, the rehabilitation and renovation of six existing water networks, and the drilling of two deep wells equipped with hand pumps. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched 10 water supply projects to help alleviate the effects of drought in Adraskan district, Herat province.

The projects include two solar-powered water supply networks, the rehabilitation and renovation of six water supply networks, and the drilling of two deep wells equipped with hand pumps.

The effort is being implemented by Cooperation for Reconstruction of Afghanistan (CRA).

The cost of these projects, funded by USAID, is almost $1 million, said Abdul Salam Hejrat, director of the Herat Department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

Children on July 26 fill water containers from a tap linked to a water supply network funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Adraskan district, Herat province. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Children on July 26 fill water containers from a tap linked to a water supply network funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Adraskan district, Herat province. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Some 825 households in eight villages of the district will benefit from the projects, he said, adding that the infrastructure was built in villages that did not previously have access to drinking water.

Some of the projects are already complete and have brought tangible results to residents' lives.

"These water supply projects... have brought water to houses," Hejrat said. "There is a water tap in every house, and [residents] have regular access to clean drinking water."

The effort so far has employed about 100 locals and skilled laborers for six months. Some are still guarding the projects, he added.

Addressing a major problem

Residents of Adraskan have suffered from water shortages for years. The USAID-funded projects are changing that.

"Our village did not have access to clean drinking water," said 36-year-old Timor Shah Rahimi. "Every day I used to fetch stagnant water from a river 2km away. I would spend half a day fetching and carrying water on my shoulders."

"I am now very happy that a clean water tap is inside our house and we drink clean water," he said.

Such projects have addressed the lack of drinking water in several villages in the area, Rahimi said.

"These are sustainable projects that the public can benefit from for many years," he added. "These projects are more useful than any other assistance because everyone, even animals, benefits from them."

Israel Amiri, a resident of Kharchan village, said 400 families in his village have benefited from clean drinking water.

"There is no water in our village, and the wells are dry," he said.

"I used to carry water on a donkey for more than 3km. There is some water in the river that animals drink from and we had to drink that water too."

"With the construction of a water supply network in the village, every house has a water tap and access to clean drinking water," he added. "The network is equipped with a solar-powered system that pumps water from wells at no cost."

Unclean water used to make villagers sick, but now the clean drinking water from the network is chlorinated, eliminating disease, Amiri said.

This project is very valuable to the villagers because it has saved them from water shortages and diseases, said Abdul Momin Rahmati, a resident of Adraskan district.

"We were suffering so much from water shortages. Every family had to assign someone to fetch water from the river several times a day ... but now there is a water tap in every home, making life very convenient," he said.

"Wells in our village have been dry for two years from drought, and access to drinking water was very difficult," he said.

Rahmati also said his children are much healthier now because they drink clean water.

Critical assistance

The level of underground and river water is dropping every year, according to the residents of Adraskan.

"There will be no drinking water in the surrounding villages in a year or two because of drought," said Shamsuddin Mohammadi, a tribal elder in the district.

"The water supply networks that pump underground water have saved our villages from going dry for many years," he said, adding that projects are built in a way that prevents water waste.

"We would have had to move away because of drought if it weren't for these... projects," he added. "Some of our neighbors have moved to Herat city because of water shortages."

Investing in water infrastructure is critical and will save many lives, according to Khalil Ahmad Faizan, an environmentalist from Herat city.

"We have witnessed in remote districts of Herat province that hundreds of households moved closer to Herat city for lack of water over the past two years," he said. "The water crisis in Afghanistan, especially in the western region, is very serious."

"The construction of water supply networks here prevents the abandonment of villages and an influx of [newcomers] into cities," Faizan said.

"The more residents stay in their village, the more agriculture will grow and will contribute to the improvement of the economy in the country," he added.

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I think it‘s great to see how there is such important developement going on in Afghanistan. Drinking water is a basic human right and its very important to build opportunities for people to have those rights.


USAID and UN projects benefitted Afghans, and I am sure this project will benefit civilians. One of the reasons is that USAID's assistance is not the government's aid but the people's aid. An American woman has worked and sent tax money to an Afghan human. A mature-aged American man has worked and sent us his tax money. A young American has worked and sent aid money to our homeland. That is, there is sincerity and devotion in it. However, there was an issue, when the budget was being announced, half of it, even 30%, was not spent and the reason was that many foreign employees were working in USAID, and the salary of each of them would be from $5000 to $20000. Most of the announced budget was spent on international staff salaries, going to Dubai for entertainment and vacations. If the announced budget had been spent in place and instead of giving the project to the NGOs, the United Nations and USAID had spent it themselves, it could have had a much more significant impact. Another thing is that a project implemented at the time of the Republic for $10,000,000 is now being announced for $500,000, and the prevailing assumption is that most of the officials of the Republic were thieves and looted the money. People hope that the world community and the ruling group will compromise and work together to reconstruct Afghanistan.


The fact that today there is a wave of drought in the country and many people are worried about the lack of water, this project is worth considering. As long as water is not managed well, this problem will not be solved in a poor country like ours. Our abundant water flows towards Iran and Pakistan, but we do not know how to manage it, how to use this great blessing for our benefit. Foreigners are also playing dirt in our eyes, no one did a basic job for Afghans! The whole world has benefited from the fog's ignorance, but we did not become conscious, nor did I become educated.