KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Three new dams are being built in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar in an effort to ease an acute water shortage as a result of years of drought, which has affected the local agricultural production.
The new dams are located in the province's Shah Walikot and Spin Boldak districts, said Mullah Abdul Khaleq, a religious leader in the province.
The dam in Spin Boldak district is designed to store up to 2.3 million cubic meters of water and can be constructed at a cost of 35 million afghanis (about 400,000 U.S. dollars), according to him.
The other two dams are in the areas of Manda Kanda and Lawal Shah Walikot in the district of Shah Walikot.
"One dam with a capacity of 1.7 million cubic meters will be constructed in Manda Kanda at a cost of 50 million afghanis (about 560,000 U.S. dollars," Khaleq said.
"Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has tasked me with the construction of three dams in Shah Walikot and Spin Boldak districts," he told Xinhua recently.
Kandahar province is well known for its grapes and pomegranates, but their production has been badly affected by years of drought.
Local farmers have dug wells to irrigate their gardens and farmland, however, digging countless wells has led to further loss of underground water, causing more problems.
The new three dams are being built on a river in the mountainous area other than the Arghandab river, from which the only reservoir Dahla Dam supplying water for Kandahar, the largest city in Afghanistan's south, fetches water.
Dahla Dam has now little water, and water level in the Arghandab river has fallen and even cannot irrigate the farmland on its banks.
The new dams are planned to bring more than 2 million acres of farmland under irrigation, according to Khaleq, who did not give the date for their completion.
"With the completion of the dams, the problem of water scarcity would be over in Kandahar and I personally support the essential projects," farmer Mohammad Sharif said.