Afghan capital’s thirsty residents dig deep to combat drought, overuse
Afghan capital’s thirsty residents dig deep to combat drought, overuse.
A growing population is straining water supplies in Afghanistan’s capital, forcing those who can afford it to dig unregulated wells ever deeper to tap a falling water table.
Several unseasonably dry winters, with little rain and a dusting of snow, have exacerbated the problem.
Heavy rain and snow this year has raised hopes that groundwater can be replenished, at least for a while.
People who can afford it usually dig a well rather than depending on the city’s limited water system, but they are having to go ever deeper to reach the receding water.
The depth of a well varies across the city, but Khan said many residents are being forced to dig 10 to 20 meters (32-64 feet) deeper than in the past.
Officials say well digging has spiraled out of control, with little or no regulation of how the ever more scarce water is exploited.
Yelani said the government was looking to implement a licensing system.
"The government mustn’t allow people to dig deep wells because it has caused many problems," said Mohammad Karim, 60, who said he was too old to carry water up to his home on a hill.
"The poor can’t dig deep wells, but that doesn’t mean they should die of thirst."