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Sustainability of water-supply at military installations, Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

January 3, 2014

The Kabul Basin, including the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, is host to several military installations of Afghanistan, the United States, and other nations that depend on groundwater resources for water supply. These installations are within or close to the city of Kabul. Groundwater also is the potable supply for the approximately four million residents of Kabul. The sustainability of water resources in the Kabul Basin is a concern to military operations, and Afghan water-resource managers, owing to increased water demands from a growing population and potential mining activities. This study illustrates the use of chemical and isotopic analysis, groundwater flow modeling, and hydrogeologic investigations to assess the sustainability of groundwater resources in the Kabul Basin.

Water supplies for military installations in the southern Kabul Basin were found to be subject to sustainability concerns, such as the potential drying of shallow-water supply wells as a result of declining water levels. Model simulations indicate that new withdrawals from deep aquifers may have less of an impact on surrounding community water supply wells than increased withdrawals from near- surface aquifers. Higher rates of recharge in the northern Kabul Basin indicate that military installations in that part of the basin may have fewer issues with long-term water sustainability. Simulations of groundwater withdrawals may be used to evaluate different withdrawal scenarios in an effort to manage water resources in a sustainable manner in the Kabul Basin.