Friday, February 21, 2014

Dahla Dam, Kandahar ($50 Million and It Doesn't Work)

Dahla Dam, Kandahar, Afghanistan
Afghanistan is full of stories about development projects that didn't get completed or that didn't pan out the way they should have. Some of this has to do with the poor security situation where many of the projects were underway. A lot has to do with the austere conditions, lack of skilled construction laborers, poor oversight, shoddy workmanship, and corruption. One expensive project that is having trouble becoming fully functional is the providing of irrigation canals with water from the Dahla Dam in Kandahar province. This was a pet project of the Canadians (to the tune of $50 million). Unfortunately the project has some problems. The dam was built in 1952 - over 60 years ago. Canada cleared or refurbished almost 500 kilometers of irrigation canals in order to provide water for over 30,000 hectares of land. There are numerous stories of corruption, money flowing to the Taliban, illicit connections with the Karzai family, political connections determining where the water will flow, and ties to the illegal drug trade. Learn more in "Out of Afghanistan: A Legacy under construction", Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2014. (Photo by Mark Ray, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, June 24, 2012).

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