Since the opening of Salma Dam in 2016, only 40% of the planned water canals connected to the dam have been completed, and water cannot flow to the eight western districts of Herat province, said local officials, citing figures provided by the Harirrud-Murghab River Basin Directorate.
“We have 118 water canals, for which we have made basins for only 40-50 percent,” said Sayed Omar Eshaq, head of the Harrirud-Murghab River Basin Directorate.
Some districts in Herat province including Kohsan, Ghoryan and ZindaJan lack irrigation for crops because approximately 60% of Salma Dam's basins have not been constructed yet.
Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi, acting director of Herat's agriculture directorate, said: “If all of the dams and their canals in the country were constructed on time, it would prevent the waste of water, and it will facilitate the irrigation of tens of thousands of hectares of land.”
President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday (March 27), while speaking at a conference held by the Youth High Council in Kabul, criticized the management of the Salma Dam project saying that the Salma Dam water is not being utilized properly and in an effective way.
“I inaugurated Salma, it has the capacity to store 760 million cubic meters of water, but it has been six years that the water has not been utilized effectively. Do not let other dams in the country face the same circumstance,” he added.
Although a major number of the basins in Salma Dam are not constructed yet, recently its three power-generating turbines were activated, and it added 31 megawatts of electric power to the Herat power network.
The Salma Dam, also called the Afghan-India Friendship Dam (AIFD), is a hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in the Chishti-e-Sharif district of Herat province. The dam was inaugurated on June 4, 2016, by President Ashraf Ghani along with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.