No More Floods! UNDP Canal Protects Qala-e-Naw

UNDP Afghanistan: This repaired canal will protect Qala-e-Naw city from flash-foods in the coming spring season.

February 2015 – A canal that passes through Qala-e-Naw city and its eight adjacent villages in western Badghis province no longer leaks during flooding after it has been repaired with US $ 740,000 funding from the National Area-Based Development Programme, a joint rural development initiative of UNDP and the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. 

The 1,250-meter long canal, also called, Baghak Canal, flows from south to north of the city that irrigates hundreds of hectares of agricultural land en route. Built with reinforced cement concrete, the canal also features 29 culverts along the way allowing pedestrians and people with cars to safely cross the canal throughout the city. 

Highlights

  • A canal that passes through Qala-e-Naw city and its eight adjacent villages in western Badghis province no longer leaks during flooding after it has been repaired.
  • An average of 120 people worked on the canal project for over eight months, each skilled worker receiving US$ 12 and unskilled worker US$ 8 a day.
  • Repairing this canal, community took the lead in executing all of the work involved as well as contributed 10 percent of the total project cost.
  • NABDP has repaired 455 km of canal since 2003 ensuring irrigation for several thousand hectares of farmland and boosting fresh produce that benefited close to 145k households in rural Afghanistan.
  • “I don’t think this year the flashfloods could pose any damage to the city because the construction work of the canal is so robust and can easily put back the kind of floods we’ve experienced in the past few years,” said a schoolteacher Muhammad Haider.

“We’ve seen very brutal floods in the past that caused deaths, property loss and even some people had to move elsewhere after their houses collapsed,” said Abdul Rasheed Khalifazada, head of the Community Development Council of Baghak village. 

As a result of this project, seasonal floods that used to wash away agricultural lands in the villages around Qala-e-Naw city and inflict damage on houses, shops and other properties of the city residents have now been withheld and people go by their daily lives with peace of mind. 

“This canal has almost completely protected our city from floods. I don’t think this year the flashfloods could pose any damage to the city because the construction work of the canal is so robust and can easily put back the kind of floods we’ve experienced in the past few years,” said Muhammad Haider, a schoolteacher from Murad Bayee village next to Qala-e-Naw.

In total, lives of over 15,000 people have been improved. Commute to work from villages to the city and within the city has become faster and much less troublesome.

“Now things have changed. There are over twenty small bridges along the canal that allows people and cars to comfortably move around in the city,” added Mr. Khalifazada.

With better access to district and provincial markets, now fresh produce, mainly vegetables, from the city and eight neighbouring villages brings a higher income to the farmers. 

An average of 120 people worked on the canal project for over eight months, each skilled worker receiving US$ 12 and unskilled worker US$ 8 a day. This is a decent pay to cover expenses of a small family of up to seven in a rural community of Badghis province.

Repairing this canal, community took the lead in executing all of the work involved as well as contributed 10 percent of the total project cost in the shape of labour, machinery and transportation of locally available construction materials, such as sand and gravel, to the project sites. The relevant District Development Assembly and Provincial Department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development monitored the repairing work of the canal ensuring high-quality implementation of the project.

In total, the National Area-Based Development Programme has repaired 455 kilometres of canal since 2003 ensuring irrigation for several thousand hectares of farmland and boosting fresh produce that benefited close to 145,000 households in rural Afghanistan. 

The National Area-Based Development Programme works to achieve a significant reduction in poverty in Afghanistan focusing on agriculture and rural employment generation, the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and the development of rural infrastructure.

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