Afghanistan Transboundary Water Resources
Trans-boundary Shared Water Resources in South and Central Asia: Alleviation of Problems encouraging collaboration between Afghanistan and Pakistan and Tajikistan
The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Center for Afghanistan Studies (CAS) initiated this project funded by U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Lounsbery Foundation to develop people-to-people dialogue and mutual collaboration among faculty, students, government officials and community members in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan to address the critical issue of transboundary water issues that are creating increased conflict and insecurity in the region.
The purpose of this project was to bring collective water management problems to a common floor for brainstorming and problem solving so that all perspectives may be discovered and addressed, from a scientific standpoint.
UNO conducted workshops in Kabul, Islamabad and Dushanbe during which all five objectives were addressed. During the workshops, participants used sustained dialogue and conflict conciliation techniques to resolve regional water problems and develop ways to address the management of shared waters resources in the region.
CAS also devleoped distance-learning modules that are available to universities throughout the region. These modules are uploaded to CAS web portal and accessible in five languages, English, Pashto, Dari, Tajiki and Urdu.
The objectives of the project were:
- Provide sustained dialogue and conflict conciliation training to faculty and students in South and Central Asia
- Provide benchmark scientific data, training, and intellectual capacity building to faculty and students in South and Central Asia to improve dialogue about water management
- Elucidate innovative ideas to decrease water demand in South and Central Asia
- Recognize international dimensions of water issues and deliver holistic solutions for South and Central Asia
- Safeguard institutions in South and Central Asia against shocks to water supply and demand by enhancing institutional capacity
This project facilitated people-to-people relationships and mutual understanding between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as the critical first step in initiating a collaborative effort to solve transboundary water issues as well as transboundary problems in general.
Addressing the problem of transboundary water management at the university level, from a scientific standpoint, is an innovative way to encourage these countries, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, to dialogue with one another.
Since water knows no national boundaries, water management must be addressed from a multinational collaborative perspective. If these countries can learn how to work together to solve some of their transboundary water issues, perhaps they can begin to solve some of their other crossborder problems as well.
Transboundary Water Research and Distance Learning Modules
Water is one of the most important molecules on our planet. It often dictates the habitability of many places on Earth for biologic life, especially humans. The Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO is currently conducting research that involves the description and explanation of water originating and flowing through Afghanistan.
We are very interested in helping with capacity-building for Afghanistan and the region insofar that they may benefit from our findings to better their countries' water situation, especially in the face of climate changes.
One of the ways we are extending our knowledge to people in the region is through the distance learning modules below. The following modules are designed to educate those interested in water, and specifically interested in Southwest or Central Asia's water resources.
Each module contains a brief tutorial having figures and captions that discuss water movement on Earth and various topics centered around the region. Sample questions are available at the end of each module in an effort to help with knowledge retention.
Transboundary water is an issue for most every country, state, or county, and this does not except places such as the United States, which have multi-layered water agreements as well as numerous disagreements and lawsuits between states.
Organization, though helpful, does not prevent grievances from developing, such as the case of the Republican River that heads in Colorado and flows through the states of Nebraska and Kansas, who litigate over water use continually.