Afghanistan: Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1

Sovereign Project | 42091-032 Status: Active


ADB is helping Afghanistan improve its ageing irrigation systems and provide flood protection. The first project under the program will upgrade infrastructure in the Balkh River Basin and Nangahar Valley, establish a river basin agency and water user associations, prepare a reform plan for state-run Nangahar Valley Development Authority, and improve flood management along the Amu Darya River.

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Project Name Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1
Project Number 42091-032
Country Afghanistan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0167-AFG: Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1
Asian Development Fund US$ 86.60 million
Grant 0170-AFG: MFF - Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1
Government of the United Kingdom US$ 3.30 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development - Agricultural policy, institutional and capacity development - Irrigation - Rural flood protection - Water-based natural resources management

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming

The Investment Program is consistent with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), which was approved in April 2009 and constitutes the country's strategic platform for development for 2008 2020. Its aim is to promote growth, generate wealth, and reduce poverty and vulnerability. ANDS covers all key sectors and sub-sectors, and embraces several themes. Water resources is a major sector under ANDS, which provides a programmatic approach to developing the water sector that includes (i) physical investments in rehabilitation of existing and development of new water resources and irrigation infrastructure; and (ii) nonphysical investment in capacity building, strengthened institutions, and policy frameworks. The proposed MFF finances the medium-term portion of a broader investment program. The Investment Program is consistent with ADB's Afghanistan country partnership strategy (CPS) 2009 2013, long-term strategic framework 2008 2020 (Strategy 2020), and water policy Water for All.

The Investment Program will finance (i) the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing and development of new irrigation and water resources infrastructure, (ii) flood management infrastructure, (iii) institutional strengthening, and (iv) capacity building for key staff throughout the sector. The first tranche project has four components: (i) northern basins development (NBD) that includes rehabilitation and upgrading of irrigation infrastructure, and development of a river basin agency (RBA) and water users associations (WUAs) for water management; (ii) Nangarhar Valley Development Authority (NVDA) improvement that includes irrigation rehabilitation and upgrading, development of WUAs, and a management reform plan for the NVDA; (iii) flood management that includes development of flood protection infrastructure along the Amu Darya River and development of a national flood management program; and (iv) project management and program development that includes a program development facility to prepare the subsequent two tranches of the MFF.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Water resources in Afghanistan. Sound management and development of Afghanistan's water resources are essential for sustained economic growth. Afghanistan is arid, and precipitation varies substantially both geographically and over the course of the year, with most precipitation falling between November and April. The seasonal precipitation pattern leads to annual flooding; this causes significant economic losses in some areas, but also provides potential opportunities. Harnessing available water resources where and when they occur and exploiting these resources most efficiently for irrigated agriculture and other uses are key challenges.

Agricultural economy. Agriculture employs about two thirds of the population and comprises up to half of Afghanistan's gross domestic product. However, agricultural production fluctuates yearly because of climatic conditions, and irrigation is necessary in most areas for reliable agriculture. Irrigated agriculture accounts for about 80% of crop production. Almost 85% of Afghanistan's inhabitants live in rural areas, and are either directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Improved access to irrigation is necessary for rural economic growth and improved livelihoods.

Irrigation sector. Afghanistan has approximately 6.5 million hectares (ha) of arable land. By the mid-1970s, over 3 million ha received irrigation, and irrigation uses 95% of Afghanistan's developed water supplies. Today, 1.8 million ha have regular irrigation. About 80% of irrigated lands have been developed and managed by local communities in river valleys, and these systems are old and degraded. Improving the performance of these existing traditional irrigation systems is necessary to boost agricultural production. Modern irrigation systems under state control were developed with foreign aid over the last 50 years. The NVDA near Jalalabad was established by the former Soviet Union under a collective farm model. It is currently operated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL). The systems support perennial irrigation on 20,000 ha of prime agricultural land, of which 12,000 ha are privately owned, with most of the remainder on short-term leases to small farmers. All physical aspects of the irrigation system need rehabilitation. The Government also needs support to develop a business plan to restructure NVDA (currently an inefficient state enterprise) and increase its corporate orientation.

Seasonal flooding. In many areas, annual flooding and bank erosion results in damage to irrigation systems and the loss of prime agricultural land, rural infrastructure, and other assets. This problem is particularly acute in the upper Amu Darya River that borders Afghanistan and Tajikistan. ADB is implementing the Pyanj River Basin Flood Management Project to address flood issues, but infrastructure investment is needed to remedy problems, and Afghanistan currently has little flood management capacity.


Project Outcome

Description of Outcome Improved water resources management.
Progress Toward Outcome

The physical progress for MEW with three civil works packages of NBD, Bangala, and Yatem Tapa are estimated at 100%, 65%, 60% respectively. While for MAIL/NVDA, civil works is estimated at 50%. All civil works will be completed within the project closing timeline.

Non-physical outputs are progressing.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Improved northern Basin irrigation system delivers reliable irrigation supplies.

Irrigated lands are protected from flood events

Institutional Strengthening

Capacity development and training

Project Management

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

PMOs/PIOs established in 2011 and recruitment process completed in 2012.

Implementation consultant recruited by MEW (31 December 2011, SNC Lavalin). Sub-contracting of NGO for WUA establishment was done, while SNC Lavalin withdrawn from Afghanistan as of 31 December 2014, therefore, the NGO services will be re-recruited through another contract. The consultant finalized a capacity building program for the Northern Basin RBA and the Panj Amu RBA. The capacity development plan was approved by ADB on 20 May 2014 and the capacity building program is expected to be completed by Q4 2016.

NVDA Priority civil works contracts was completed in February 2014 and the construction of the main canal structure done in October 2014. In total 207 structures of the original scope of 250 were completed. A request to reduce the scope of the project has been approved by ADB in order to close the contract. The contract for Bangala weir was awarded on 21 April 2014. The advance has been paid on Nov 2014 and the NTP issued, with civil works progressing as 65% completed. The Yatim Tepa flood protection works and pilot porcupines contract was awarded on 21st October 2014 and the work is in progress. The rehabilitation of NVDA main, secondary and tertiary canals are also ongoing and will be completed by December 2016.

The audit reports for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 have been submitted and accepted by ADB.

Geographical Location Balkh, Jawzjan, Takhar, Kunduz and Nangarhar Provinces

Safeguard Categories

Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects

The Water Resources Development Investment Program (the Investment Program) is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), through a multitranche financing facility (MFF). The Investment Program has an environmental assessment and review framework and cumulative environmental impact assessment. Each project under the MFF will have individual safeguard documents as required by ADB. The first tranche had an initial environmental examination and is classified as environmental category B according to ADB guidelines.

An EARF and cumulative impact assessment were prepared for the Investment Program following the Government's existing environmental laws and regulations and ADB's Environmental Policy (2002).

The EARF lays out the procedures and provides guidance for environmental due diligence under the Investment Program. Environmental capacity development for the Investment Program will be supported through the implementation consultants' environmental specialist, who will be part of the safeguard team in the PMOs. The PMOs, with support from the consultants, will be responsible for environmental monitoring and implementation of the environmental management plans (EMPs). For future tranches, initial environmental examinations (IEEs), or environmental impact assessments, if required, will be prepared following the EARF and included in the appraisal report, with due public consultation and information disclosure. The finalized IEEs will be submitted with the PFR for ADB approval.

The IEE, including an EMP and summary IEE, was prepared for the first tranche, which is classified as category B in terms of environmental impacts. The Project should have positive impacts on the environment including improved water-use efficiency, protection of assets from river bank erosion and flooding, and better land-use management. Potential negative impacts include (i) erosion of flood protection infrastructure; (ii) dust, noise, and waste during construction; (iii) flood flow displacement due to headworks operation; and (iv) possible degraded surface and groundwater quality and public health due to increased use of agricultural inputs. These will be mitigated by (i) development of a contractors' environmental management plan based on the EMP, with monitoring benchmarks; (ii) operation of infrastructure to minimize flood damage; (iii) WUA training for improved water management; and (iv) RBA capacity building related specifically to developing and implementing technically, socially, and environmentally sound operational policies and procedures. All of the environmental due diligence documents for the first tranche and Investment Program are found in Supplementary Appendix D.

Involuntary Resettlement

A land acquisition and resettlement framework (LARF) was prepared based on the laws of Afghanistan and in accordance with ADB's Involuntary Resettlement Policy (1995) and Operations Manual49 and endorsed by the Government. The LARF has established a process for (i) resettlement categorization of project activities as A, B, or C based on ADB guidelines; (ii) assessment of required resettlement activities; (iii) preparation of any required resettlement plans or other safeguards documents; (iv) compensation to affected persons prior to commence of civil works; and (v) grievance redress among other resettlement activities. The safeguards teams in the PMOs will be responsible for all resettlement activities and prepare any required resettlement plan(s). The categorization form and draft resettlement documents for subsequent tranches will be submitted for ADB approval with each PFR. The PMO and implementation consultants and/or contractors will update resettlement plans during detailed design. Resettlement plans will be implemented only after they have been formally approved by the IA and cleared by ADB. No notice to proceed will be given for civil works until the resettlement plan is fully implemented in the construction area. The PMO will monitor the resettlement plan implementation and report to ADB. In addition, an external monitoring agency will be engaged by the PMO and will have responsibility for (i) confirming that any required land acquisition and resettlement activities have been completed prior to commencement of civil works, (ii) assessing implementation, (iii) progress reporting, and (iv) assessing the impact of the land acquisition and resettlement activities. The external monitoring agency findings and quarterly reports will be filed independently with the EA, IA(s), and ADB, and relevant information may be included in PMO reporting. A nongovernment organization may be engaged as required to support the PMO with the preparation and implementation of resettlement activities. The LARF will ensure that women receive due compensation for losses, and that women who are de facto household heads are clearly listed as beneficiaries for compensation. The Government of Afghanistan has agreed to pay resettlement compensation costs.

Tranche 1 has been categorized as category B for resettlement. The NBD component will require some land acquisition that may impact up to five families, but no relocation is required. The flood management component requires compensation for 19 families that are currently farming in the area of the proposed protective embankment. Short land acquisition and resettlement plans (SLARPs) have been prepared for the affected persons. A summary of the LARF is found in Appendix 14 and the full LARF and SLARP are in Supplementary Appendix C.

Indigenous Peoples The tranche 1 project has been classified as category C. The tranche 1 project areas are inhabited by different ethnic groups. The socioeconomic features and level of vulnerability of these people do not fit with the characteristics defined by ADB's Policy on Indigenous Peoples (1998). The impact of subsequent tranche projects on indigenous peoples will be categorized through the initial poverty and social assessment (IPSA) screening and indigenous peoples categorization followed by appropriate actions as indicated in the approved LARF. Specific actions favorable to indigenous peoples will be included in the land acquisition and resettlement plan or in the specific PFR document for projects categorized as B in terms of indigenous peoples impact. Projects undertaken as part of future tranches will avoid negative impacts on indigenous peoples. If a project under a future tranche is classified as category A with respect to indigenous peoples impacts, an indigenous peoples development plan will be prepared in accordance with ADB's Policy on Indigenous Peoples. Any required documents relating to indigenous peoples will be attached to the PFR.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design Consultations were undertaken by the project preparation consultants with farmer irrigators, the landless, sharecroppers, herders, community elders, officials from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and government authorities. In addition, small workshops and meetings were held in each of the project component areas, and a large final tripartite workshop was held in Kabul at the end of the project preparation. The views of the communities and proposed project beneficiaries were incorporated into the project design. Consultation is integral to the project design with regard to the development of water users associations (WUAs), which will be empowered to assume formal responsibility for the management and operation and maintenance of large portions of the irrigation system, and will share decision-making responsibility for infrastructure improvements.
During Project Implementation During project implementation, there will be significant interaction with the local farmers as a part of the WUA development and training program. Local NGOs will support implementation of this effort, which by its very nature will be participatory and involve ongoing consultation with farmers and community members.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services

All consultants to be financed will be recruited in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2007, as amended from time to time).

The PMOs and PIOs will be supported by consulting services packages to complete detailed design and provide effective construction supervision.

Firm consultants will be selected on quality based seleciton procedures. The MAIL package will provide 72 person-months of international consultants and 299 person-months of national consultants while the MEW package will provide 206 person-months of international consulting input and 758 person-months of national consulting input.

About 10 person-months of individual consultant input will be recruited to accelerate project readiness for detailed design and tendering of the construction of Bangala weir and R&U of the Samarkandian weir.

Procurement Procurement of works and goods to be financed under the Investment Program will be undertaken in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2007, as amended from time to time). International competitive bidding (ICB) will be used for supply contracts estimated costing more than $500,000 and for civil works that cost more than $2 million. National competitive bidding (NCB) will be used for goods and works above $100,000 and below the ICB thresholds. Shopping will be used for goods and works equal to or below $100,000.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Hans Woldring
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Afghanistan Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance
H.E. Dr. Mustafa Mastoor
Ministry of Finance. Passhtunistan watt, Kabul


Concept Clearance 01 Jul 2009
Fact Finding 16 May 2009 to 11 Jun 2009
MRM 14 Jul 2009
Approval 06 Oct 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 17 Jul 2009
Last PDS Update 31 Mar 2016

Grant 0167-AFG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
06 Oct 2009 11 Nov 2009 08 Jan 2010 30 Jun 2015 30 Jun 2018 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 89.50 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 86.60 06 Oct 2009 79.37 0.00 92%
Counterpart 2.90 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 06 Oct 2009 45.84 0.00 53%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Grant 0170-AFG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
06 Oct 2009 11 Nov 2009 08 Jan 2010 30 Jun 2015 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 3.30 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 06 Oct 2009 0.00 3.25 99%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 3.30 06 Oct 2009 0.00 1.78 54%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Title Document Type Document Date
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1: Resettlement Monitoring Report (July-December 2015) Social Monitoring Reports May 2016
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Environmental Monitoring Report (June-December 2015) Environmental Monitoring Reports Jan 2016
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Environmental Monitoring Report Environmental Monitoring Reports Sep 2015
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Social Monitoring Report Social Monitoring Reports Jun 2015
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Social Monitoring Report (February 2015) Social Monitoring Reports Feb 2015
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Social Monitoring Report (December 2014) Social Monitoring Reports Dec 2014
Water Resources Development Investment Program Tranche 1: Biannual Environmental Monitoring Report Environmental Monitoring Reports Oct 2014
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1: Resettlement Plan for Bangala Weir Resettlement Plans Nov 2013
Water Resources Development Investment Program - Project 1: Environmental Monitoring Report (October 2013) Environmental Monitoring Reports Oct 2013
Water Resources Development Investment Program (Tranche 1) - Construction of Northern Basin Development Main Canals: Environmental Due Diligence Report Safeguards Due Diligence Reports Apr 2013
Water Resource Development Investment Program - Tranche 1: Environmental Monitoring Report (November 2012) Environmental Monitoring Reports Nov 2012

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

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