The Impact of Bakhshabad Dam on Economic Growth
By: Fazl Wali Shirani
Translated by: Sajad Ahmad Khetab
Water plays a crucial role in human life, significantly impacting economic activities. The global significance of drinkable water cannot be understated, given its scarcity and high demand. Countries worldwide strive to manage their water resources effectively, harnessing them for electricity generation, agriculture, and drinking purposes. Research indicates that rivers and canals are the primary sources of water usage in Afghanistan, surpassing other alternatives. Afghanistan boasts a diverse network of rivers, both large and small, spanning across all provinces. According to available data, rivers, and canals account for 84% of the irrigation system, followed by springs at 8%, qanats at 7%, and wells at 1%. Most of Afghanistan's water reserves are concentrated in central and mountainous regions, as well as the western deserts. The country's water resources primarily stem from the Hindu Kush mountain range, characterized by towering peaks and abundant snowfall in areas such as Wakhan, Pamir, East and West Hindu Kush, and Baba Mountain. During the spring and summer seasons, the snowmelt feeds various waterways. Proper management of this abundant resource is crucial for maximizing its potential. Constructing dams along flowing water bodies represents a pivotal water management strategy. These dams serve the dual purpose of irrigating agricultural lands and meeting the escalating electricity demands of nations. In pursuit of this objective, the Islamic Emirate has taken proactive steps, undertaking the construction of new dams and ensuring the completion of previously initiated dam projects across the country. Among these projects, the Bakhshabad dam in Farah province holds significant importance. The Islamic Emirate has allocated funds to finalize the remaining construction tasks, and active work has already commenced. This endeavor reflects the commitment to leverage the potential of the Bakhshabad Dam to foster economic growth.
Bakhshabad Dam and its Economic Significance
On the 20th of May 2023, the completion of the remaining works of the Bakhshabad Dam in Farah province was inaugurated by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the Deputy PM for Economic Affairs, accompanied by several high-ranking officials. It is projected that the dam's construction will be finalized in the near future, marking a significant milestone. The Bakhshabad Dam boasts the capacity to store approximately one billion cubic meters of water annually, irrigate 68,590 hectares of agricultural land, and generate 27 megawatts of electricity. The construction of this dam will address the depletion of underground water reservoirs and curb unnecessary water consumption. Furthermore, it will effectively control floodwater and surface water, contributing to improved water management. The agricultural and livestock sectors will witness substantial growth as a result of the dam's construction, leading to increased productivity. Consequently, the per capita income in the province is expected to rise.
Water is an indispensable resource for nations, making the construction of large and small dams a crucial endeavor in water management at the national level. While the construction of water dams incurs costs, it is essential to build and complete dams to address issues related to surface water supply, underground water reserves, and unnecessary water consumption. This approach brings forth significant benefits, including the growth of the agricultural and business sectors within the country, as well as reduced reliance on imported electricity. By resolving existing electricity challenges, Afghanistan's industrial sector will flourish, leading to economic stability and rapid progress. Taking into account these factors, the Islamic Emirate has taken proactive measures in water management, exemplified by the successful completion of the remaining works of the Bakhshabad dam in Farah province. Officials of the Islamic Emirate consistently emphasize their commitment to the development and prosperity of Afghanistan. During the dam's inauguration ceremony, Honorable Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund stated, "Bakhshabad Dam is a crucial and essential project for Farah province, and we have stood firmly with the people of Farah to ensure its completion." He further emphasized the significant efforts required for the reconstruction of Afghanistan's economic infrastructure, expressing a dedicated commitment to driving positive transformations in the economic sector. The Deputy PM for Economic Affairs also highlighted his intention to utilize available resources effectively for the completion of the remaining works of the Bakhshabad dam, urging the contractor company to execute their entrusted tasks with unwavering trust. With its 50 km canal on the right side and 52 km canal on the left side, the Bakhshabad dam has the capacity to irrigate 68,590 hectares of agricultural land. In summary, the construction and completion of dams play a pivotal role in water management, agricultural development, industrial growth, and overall economic advancement. The Islamic Emirate's steadfast dedication to these endeavors, exemplified by the Bakhshabad dam project, showcases their commitment to Afghanistan's progress and prosperity.