United States Forces-Afghanistan
December 30, 2008
Release Number 20083012-02
Provincial Reconstruction Team improves irrigation in Konar
KABUL, Afghanistan - The Konar Provincial Reconstruction Team is working
with Afghans in Manawara District to restore an irrigation system that
fell into disrepair during decades of war in Afghanistan.
The ancient Karez system consists of 12 wells and numerous aqueducts
which use river water and underground spring water to irrigate crops in
the area. Soviets bombed the irrigation system in the 1980s to prevent
Afghan fighters from transporting weapons and ammunition through the
tunnels. The system has sustained other damage over time as well.
"The age, bombardment by the Soviets and its depth below the surface
make it difficult to survey and repair the wells in Marawara District,"
said Navy Lt. j.g. James Dietle. "The team believes there is a blockage
in the tunnel preventing the water from getting to the crops. We are
trying to help find and fix the kink."
Local residents have taken an interest in the project and have shown
their support to the PRT by assisting with inspections. Residents hope a
rejuvenated irrigation system will increase crop yields.
"The locals are helping with the construction," Dietle said. "We have
not yet hired a contractor to help repair the Karez system. However,
most contracts require 80 percent local work."
Although the community would normally conduct the system’s maintenance,
the PRT hopes to provide the necessary assistance to help the Karez
irrigation system begin to work reliably again.
"This project has quickly become one of our favorites, it’s a relatively
low-cost project with a measureable impact of improving irrigation to
the community," said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Ross, Konar PRT commander. "Not to
mention, this project is a high priority for the local government and
the PRT. They will see the immediate benefit of their efforts in time
for the spring planting season."