Iranian media recently reported the establishment of a joint working group of environmental officials from Afghanistan and Iran. Their primary objective is to address the ongoing water rights issue concerning the Helmand River.
According to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, the water flow from the Helmand River in Afghanistan to Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan provinces has been insufficient for several years, posing significant challenges to the livelihoods of the local people.
An existing water treaty between Afghanistan and Iran allocates 820 million cubic meters annually to Iran from the Helmand River. However, Iranian authorities have received only a fraction of this amount, just 27 million cubic meters in the past year.
Expressing concerns over the Taliban administration’s perceived lack of commitment to water rights, Iranian officials were granted permission by Kabul to assess the water levels in the Helmand River firsthand.
A technical delegation from Iran inspected the Deh Rawood hydrometric station and observed that the water level was lower than usual due to the prevailing drought conditions.
During a recent visit to Iran, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs in Afghanistan, acknowledged the adverse impact of recent droughts on water resources in the country. He highlighted significant decreases in both surface and underground water levels.
The formation of the joint working group marks a diplomatic effort to address the long-standing issue of water rights, aiming to find a mutually beneficial solution for Afghanistan and Iran.
The ongoing water scarcity challenges in the region underscore the importance of collaborative efforts between neighbouring countries to manage and preserve essential water resources in the face of changing environmental conditions.