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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.


Help by tradition – water sources in Afghanistan

Published 05th August 2010 - 3 comments - 1599 views -

Help by tradition – water sources in Afghanistan

Many NGOs build expensive water pumps, wells and pipe schemes which provide local people with good quality water. The system of pumps, pipes and wells usually has one disadvantage. Local people do not largely have the right skills, knowledge and money to repair the pumps or pipes after NGOs leaves the area. This is the reason why many new wells are out of order after one or two years.

The real help may be simpler. Afghans have been using for many centuries traditional systems and tools to access water, which after decades of the war need only reconstructions or small improvements. It is true that the quality is then lower than the one from new wells, but it works and without any need of sophisticated technologies. The easy way to reach sources of water is called karezes and kandas.


Karez is an ancient system located in arid regions that brings groundwater from a cliff or a base of mountains following a water-bearing formation (aquifer) or rarely from rivers through an underground tunnel or series of tunnels and emerges at an oasis. The tunnels, generally several kilometres long, are roughly horizontal, with a slope. This allows water to drain out by gravity to the surface of lower and flatter agricultural lands.


Kandas are underground water tanks that collect water from rain and snow. They are big reservoirs filled with rainwater from which water for drinking can be used during dry months. Apparently it’s not the best water but the only water available.

Category: Technology | Tags:


  • Luan Galani on 05th August 2010:

    Ladislav, nice post. However, can you enlighten me a little bit more? Do you know if these two ways are already in course of being used again? Have these two stopped from being used with NGOs aid?

  • Ladislav Kudlacek on 06th August 2010:

    There is one example done by Canadian PR Team:

    Another example is Czech PR Team in Logar province.

    Kandas are the main part of Water and Sanitation project done by People in Need in Balkh province and in Paktia.

    However, some donators and NGOs do not see the water from this technology as a source of good water.

  • Aija Vanaga on 07th August 2010:

    This sounds that development need to go hand with hand with people, their cultural ways and knowledge!

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