The government of Canada plans to increase aid to Afghanistan over the next three years and shift its focus from military activity to development, including rehabilitation of Dahla Dam, the country’s second largest.
Canada said June 10 it plans to invest C$50 million (US$48.9 million) over three years to refurbish the dam and irrigation system as a ï¿½signature projectï¿½ of Canada’s aid to Afghanistan. Built in the 1950s, Dahla has three small hydro generators rendered only partly operable due to wear and tear, and silting of the reservoir.
Total Canadian aid for the 10-year period 2001-2011 will increase to C$1.9 billion (US$1.8 billion) from a previously announced C$1.3 billion (US$1.2 billion), with C$280 million (US$274 million) a year being spent over the next three years, a statement said.
Funding also will go to two other signature projects, construction or repair of 50 schools and expanded polio immunization. Efforts will center on Kandahar Province, a center of Canadian military occupation.
Repairs to Dahla Dam include replacing generators and repairing valves to improve control of water flow. Work also includes fixing gates to control Arghandab River flows into the irrigation canal system. Canals also are to be repaired and desilted.
Canada also will support establishment of the Arghandab Sub-basin Agency, which is to take the lead in managing the area’s water system in consultation with local stakeholders.
Canadian officials said the Dahla Dam program will provide a secure water supply to the majority of the Kandahar population, generate 10,000 low-skilled jobs, and provide farmers 10,000 hectares of irrigated land.