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Old 07-28-2009   #3
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Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post

Good to have you along.

I have not read your report yet - so I should probably not ask the question but... What are the social aspects of water system ownership and management? ie were they owned communally or by individual families? if we were to improve water access would that challenge the status quo or be welcomed by all?

Looks like an interesting project, and you have provided some very sharp observations and questions which cut to the heart of things; if I may paraphrase ‘Who is running the show, how does water tie into the decision making structure, and why should a soldier care?’

I will save separate discussions on the karez, erosion, Soviet-era water issues, ownership, as well as the tie to the decision making process and why a soldier should care for future lunch-time posts and if you will bear with me I will try the Sir/Cpt. B.H. Liddell Hart approach towards my understanding of the management of surface water water systems in Afghanistan from my far-away armchair.

Construction, operation, and maintenance of successful hydraulic engineering projects require significant community resources in terms of time, money, and people and are able to balance many competing interests (reinforced by AK-in-hand-Law as required). You are no doubt well ahead of me, however I’ll state the obvious, for hydraulic projects in the US as well as the ones in Iraq I have found it beneficial to conduct a stakeholder analysis combined with a swot analysis of the community, and perhaps some associated cost/economic estimates from a water standpoint. Unfortunately it is time consuming, although interesting staff work

Although reports indicate that Afghanistan had a Soviet-Age Water Law (‘81), has a 2008 Draft Water Law, and has a transboundary water compact/accord with Iran which specifies delivery of 26 cms (a very small number) from Afghanistan, the soldier in me wonders if any of this really trumps AK-in-hand-Law. Irrigation typology type reports, such as the open-source one I provided a link to, provide a previously devised stakeholder framework for consideration when conducting such an analysis in your area. My read of various hydraulic & hydrology studies conducted in Afghanistan indicates that Afghanistan uses a seasonal water-master type management system:

Idealized Organization of Surface Water Systems (Northern Afghanistan)-Majority of water supply
  • Mirab Bashi – Water Master for System paid by community farmers may be elected by community, appointed by commanders, or may also be the community elder – Arbab.
  • Mirab – Water Masters Assistant, responsible secondary canals, paid by community farmers
  • Chakbahi – Water Masters Assistant, responsible for tertiary ditches, paid by community farmers
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