Preparing the Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Investment Project (TA 9723-AFG)

The Dahla Dam, constructed in 1952, is the second largest dam in Afghanistan with a height of 55 meters and a crest length of 535 meters.  It is in the Shah Wali Kot District of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, about 40 kilometers north east of the provincial capital Kandahar. Its design capacity of 478 million cubic meters of water provides irrigation water to the downstream Arghandab Irrigation System, which delivers water to 55 community irrigation schemes, and 65 riparian community irrigation schemes, covering five districts of Kandahar Province including Kandahar City. Dahla Dam does not supply water to downstream urban communities, and its hydropower potential has not been developed. Since 1952, the reservoir has lost 40% of its storage capacity because of siltation, and its ability to provide regulated downstream flow has been seriously constrained.

The Transaction Technical Assistance objective was to assist the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Asian Development Bank make an informed decision on the possible investment in the proposed Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Project.

The proposed project finances improvements to the availability and use of water resources for irrigated agriculture, urban water supply, and power generation for Kandahar, the country’s second largest city, and its vicinity. The program, located in the Arghandab River sub-basin, a major tributary of the Helmand River system, will also make the management of these water resources more efficient. Promoting stability and growth in Kandahar province is a high priority for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The objectives of the assignment were to: (i) undertake a due diligence review of the USACE proposed design of Dahla dam raising; (ii) prepare the required environment, indigenous peoples and social safeguards assessments and plans consistent with the ADB Safeguard Policy Statement (2009), preparation of detailed project implementation arrangements, procurement plan and procurement documents for consultant services, and additional project processing documentations as required by ADB and the government, (iii) prepare the Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Management Plan, and (iv) carry out feasibility level designs of the proposed subsequent tranches for water use investments: hydroelectric power generation and transmission to Kandahar city, urban water supply, and irrigated agriculture development.