Work on canal helps residents recover from flood damage
Before: An eroded sub-canal intake captures very little water and is blocked easily by riverbank erosion. Reduced downstream water flow limits the reach of the sub-canal, leaving increasing numbers of Bala Murghab farms to face arid conditions and crop failures.
23 OCTOBER 2011 | BADGHIS, AFGHANISTAN
Snowmelt and rain swell the Murghab River in the months of April, May, and June, raising the water velocity to three times its normally placid rate. These surges, capable of filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool every 23 seconds, help neighboring Turkmenistan provide local power along the river valley border with Afghanistan. However, in northern Badghis Province, the same floodwaters overrun fragile canals, stripping topsoil from farmland and devastating crops.
By the fall of 2010, damage to the farmland had become so extensive that 80 percent of the residents in Bala Murghab District were forced out of work. Emergency repairs to the canal were unreachably expensive.
USAID launched a project to address these problems in January 2011. More than 3,000 villagers came together to reconstruct intakes and replace water gates, drawing off the floodwaters and guiding them to farmlands in order to reduce damage to existing farms while recovering arid land. Women built gabions to ease water control while other work teams reconstructed canals and sub-canals in the district.
The bulk of this work was completed by May 2011. Now, 850 households along the Murghab River enjoy more secure farm yields, an important first step in revitalizing the district economy.
Last updated: February 11, 2015