KANDAHAR CITY, Kandahar Province – The shepherd’s loud calls keep the flock of sheep together while they pass calmly along a water canal. It is early afternoon and nothing but the loud calls of shepherds can be heard in Ghra village. Abdul Karim, 28, is standing by the concrete canal and keenly watching the water flow smoothly through.
“In the past, the irrigation system was built out of mud,” says Abdul Karim. “Ghra villagers used to have conflicts over the distribution of water into the branches of the old canal, which brought water to the farmlands. The conflicts were a big problem for the village.”
The recently rebuilt water canal in Ghra village has resolved the conflicts by dividing the water into two sub-canals so that it easily reaches villagers’ farms for irrigation. The rehabilitated irrigation system allows local residents to use the iron gates installed at each sub-canal to easily regulate the amount of incoming water.
Abdul Karim, a staff member of the Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP) in Kandahar Province, is in Ghra village to monitor the irrigation scheme that IRDP rehabilitated.
Ghra is a village of around 400 households in Daman district, located in the southern part of Kandahar city. Most of the residents are farmers or horticulturalists. Most of the orchards produce pomegranate and grapes, while the farms produce mainly wheat and melons.
The irrigation canal in Ghra village was rebuilt by IRDP, under the Ministry of Energy and Water. With support from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), IRDP builds upon and scales up activities supported under the completed World Bank-financed Emergency Irrigation Rehabilitation Project (EIRP), closed in December 2011.
The project supports the rehabilitation of irrigation systems, serving some 300,000 hectares of land, throughout the country. To date, under the irrigation component of this project, approximately 20,000 hectares (44 percent of the 45,000-hectare target) of restored irrigated area have been covered.
IRDP operates in six regions: Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Kunduz, and Mazar-e-Sharif. The IRDP Kandahar region operates in the five provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan, and Zabul. The project’s goal is to increase agricultural productivity and production in the project areas.