Afghanistan, ADB Sign Grant Agreement to Improve Water Resources, Enhance Productivity

Wed, Sep 25 2019 4:09 PM

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (25 September 2019) — The Government of Afghanistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed a $348.78 million grant to help in the development of water resources in Kandahar province through the expansion of Dahla Dam, the country’s second largest dam.

The grant agreement was signed by Mr. Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor on Infrastructure and Technology to the President of Afghanistan, and Mr. Narendra Singru, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan. The signing ceremony was attended by cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and senior government officials.

"I am delighted to sign a grant agreement for Arghandab District Water Resources Development Project with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The grant will be provided through ADB’s Special Fund Resources (Asian Development Fund) and will be used for agriculture, natural resources and rural development sectors. I sincerely thank ADB for its assistance,” said H.E. Qayoumi, Acting Minister of Finance.

Mr. Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock, Deputy Ministers of Rural Rehabilitation & Development and Energy and Water also talked about the agriculture importance of the project, power generation, increased capacity of Dahla Dam and its impact on the people’s live. 

“The signing of today’s grant confirms ADB’s long-term commitment to help improve the lives of Afghans through building the needed infrastructure and supporting management and technical capacities,” said Mr. Narendra Singru. “The project will help improve Afghanistan’s agricultural productivity, water resources management, energy generation, and economic growth outlook.”



Stable, reliable, and well-managed water resources are essential for Afghanistan, where water is scarce and highly seasonal, greatly affecting the agriculture sector. The sector is Afghanistan’s major source of livelihood, employing 62.2% of the country’s labor force in 2017—two-thirds of employed women in the country work in agriculture—and contributing over 21% of the national economy. The lack of well-managed integrated water resources, especially of reliable irrigation water, hinders the sector’s huge potential and further contribution to the economy.

The Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Project will improve the availability and management of water resources in Kandahar province by rehabilitating and increasing the storage capacity of Dahla Dam, which was originally built in 1952. Construction works will include raising the main dam, six saddle dams, spillways, and other associated structures to increase the full reservoir level by 13.6 meters and storage capacity from 288 million cubic meters (mcm) to 782 mcm, while also realigning 9.6 kilometers of road that will be affected.


Increased storage capacity of the dam will provide the possibility of hydropower generation, which will be undertaken by the private sector, and additional urban and industrial water supply to Kandahar City and its surroundings, with the help of other development partners.

The project will also increase reliable irrigation water supply by upgrading canals and structures, as well as introducing monitoring and control systems that will allow water on-demand services in Kandahar province. Climate-smart irrigation and agricultural technologies and practices will be adopted to improve production and sustainability. Female farmers, in particular, will be empowered through increased training opportunities, scholarships, technology transfer, and advisory services.

With a cumulative investment of more than $545 million, ADB’s current assistance to the sector covers irrigation and water resources, agriculture market infrastructure, value chain development, integrated water resources management, institutional strengthening and reforms, and increased participation of women in agriculture


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