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Press Release | Jan. 1, 2009

Provincial Reconstruction Team improves irrigation in Konar

By None , U.S. Forces - Afghanistan

Press Release

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."