World Water Day – an international observance day was celebrated in Afghanistan on 25th March in Kabul, and 26th - 28th March in five river basin organization centers. The theme of the year 2018 was “Nature for Water” which explored how respectful attitude towards nature can help to overcome the water challenges. World Water Day is the annual focal point for the world, in this case for Afghanistan and regional water issues. It was organized by Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) with the technical and financial assistance of the CAREC-USAID project Smart Waters in Afghanistan.
The World Water Day was celebrated in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif (Northern River Basin Center), Herat (Harirud River Basin Center), Kunduz (Panj Amu River Basin Center), Kandahar (Helmand River Basin Center), and Jalalabad (Kabul River Basin Center). Experts, decision-makers, members of the Afghanistan Parliament, members of the House of Elders, members of Water User Associations (WUA) (Mirabs), university professors, and business innovators from a range of sectors come to the event to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. In total, around 600 people participated in these events in Kabul and provinces.
In Kabul, Smart Waters project focal point from the Ministry of Higher Education made a presentation on IWRM status in Afghanistan. The presentation highlighted the importance of IWRM in academic institutions and Kabul Polytechnic University capacity to establish the appropriate IWRM department with the help of the Smart Waters Project. The MEW representatives in the Kabul event, as well as in provinces appreciated Smart Waters project and USAID efforts. The MEW representatives travelling to provinces took a brief one-pager about the project to share its goal with water sector specialists all over Afghanistan.
Besides the Kabul event, CAREC-USAID project team was also able to participate and travel to Balkh Province. Project Specialist and Coordinator in Afghanistan had his speech on the importance of celebrating World Water Day, public awareness in the water sector, current challenges related to water in Afghanistan and the region (CA and South Asia). Project Specialist underlined future opportunities in this sector for Afghanistan and introduced Smart Waters project activities in the country.
In his speech, the Project Specialist pointed out the existing political will in Afghanistan to solve its water issues: “Afghanistan with all its challenges in the water sector is currently blessed with great leadership, which is committed to solving its water-related problems. “Political will” is always considered as a prerequisite for any positive change in this sector.”
In short, World Water Day in Afghanistan shows that country government understands the importance of water resources and supports international initiatives in this field. Moreover, the interest of the public to the IWRM demonstrates that water specialists of Afghanistan are ready to adopt best practices of the world for the benefit of the sector.