Groundwater-level trends and implications for sustainable water use in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

Environment Systems and Decisions
By: , and 



The Kabul Basin, which includes the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, with a population of approximately 4 million, has several Afghan, United States, and international military installations that depend on groundwater resources for a potable water supply. This study examined groundwater levels in the Kabul Basin from 2004 to 2012. Groundwater levels have increased slightly in rural areas of the Kabul Basin as a result of normal precipitation after the drought of the early 2000s. However, groundwater levels have decreased in the city of Kabul due to increasing water use in an area with limited recharge. The rate of groundwater-level decrease in the city is greater for the 2008–2012 period (1.5 meters per year (m/yr) on average) than for the 2004–2008 period (0–0.7 m/yr on average). The analysis, which is corroborated by groundwater-flow modeling and a non-governmental organization decision-support model, identified groundwater-level decreases and associated implications for groundwater sustainability in the city of Kabul. Military installations in the city of Kabul (the Central Kabul subbasin) are likely to face water management challenges resulting from long-term groundwater sustainability concerns, such as the potential drying of shallow water-supply wells. Installations in the northern part of the Kabul Basin may have fewer issues with long-term water sustainability. Groundwater-level monitoring and groundwater-flow simulation can be valuable tools for assessing groundwater management options to improve the sustainability of water resources in the Kabul Basin.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Groundwater-level trends and implications for sustainable water use in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan
Series title Environment Systems and Decisions
DOI 10.1007/s10669-013-9455-4
Volume 33
Issue 3
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) NH/VT office of New England Water Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 457
Last page 467
Country Afghanistan
Other Geospatial Kabul Basin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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