MNA – Afghan Deputy Minister of Water Khan Mohammad Takal says his country is committed to fulfilling its obligations over sharing the water from the Hirmand (also known as Helmand) River and its tributary to Iran.
Iran and Afghanistan held the 19th round of Joint Committee of Commissars of Hirmand water in Tehran from Jan. 5-8. The negotiations focused on resolving the dispute over the critical share of the two countries which was determined under a pact signed in 1973 in Kabul.
During the Tuesday session attended by Abbas Soroush, deputy manager of National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company, a subsidiary of Iran’s Energy Ministry, Takal said his government is committed to its obligations on sharing the water with the Islamic Republic.
Iran has suffered severe water shortage in its southeastern provinces bordering Afghanistan. A part of the problem, reportedly, comes in the wake of Kabul’s lack of commitment to the treaty’s obligations.
The two sides agreed to hold follow-up meetings soon to tackle the issue and come up with strategies for better implementation of the agreement.
The 1973 agreement follows those recommendations to supply Iran with an average 22 m3/s, and includes an additional 4 m3/s for “goodwill and brotherly relations”.
Reportedly, the treaty was mostly to the detriment of Iran because not only did it recognize all dams and canals that the Afghans had built on the shared basin, it also reduced Iran’s annual water right to as low as 800 million cubic meters.
As per the deal, Afghans should have allocated a specific amount of water to Iran in different seasons. They are also obliged not to restrict Iran’s share of the joint basin under any circumstances.