Hydrological modelling in the Panjshir catchment

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Climate change impacts can affect many aspects of mountain environments, which in turn affect life downstream, from irrigation and food to hydropower and industry. Hydrological models can help plan for climate change impacts on water resources by providing insight into different parts of the hydrological cycle. This, in turn, can help planners and policy makers take informed decisions for the planning and management of water resources.

To enhance capacity in managing water resources in Afghanistan, a 10-day training was organized on hydrological processes and modelling and application of the JAMS/J2000 hydrological model in the Panjshir catchment of the Kabul sub-river basin. Organized by the Strengthening Water Resources Management in Afghanistan (SWaRMA) Initiative, the training was held from 25 October to 4 November 2018 in New Delhi, India. Fifteen participants (including two women) were involved, representing the following institutions from Afghanistan: Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), Kabul University (KU), and Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU). 

Participants of the training workshop on hydrological modelling using JAMS/J2000 (Photo: Arun Bhakta Shrestha/ICIMOD)

Fazullhaq Bakhtari, Director, Water Resources Department, underlined the importance of understanding and managing Afghanistan’s river basins and hoped the training would aid water resources planning. The first week of the training provided a theoretical description of hydrological processes with a focus on the JAMS/J2000 modelling system. The latter half of the training involved an exercise on the Panjshir catchment, which involved setting up the J2000 hydrological model in the catchment and conducting hydrological assessments. Initial assessments show that the basin is largely dominated by snowmelt processes. Ahmad Tamim Kabiry, a participant representing the NEPA, shared that the trainers presented complex topics in such a manner that it was understandable even to those without a background in hydrology. 

Participants set up the J2000 hydrological model in the Panjshir catchment and conducted hydrological assessments (Photo: Saurav Pradhananga/ICIMOD)

By applying the JAMS/J2000 model to the Panjshir catchment, this training was able to co-create knowledge and provide co-learning opportunities and strengthen the capacity of Afghan partners on hydrological dynamics and water availability assessment. The selected participants will further work to apply the J2000 model in the Kabul River basin in the coming months to obtain substantial hydrological data and observe how conditions in the river basin might change under climate change.

Participants along with the trainers during the closing ceremony (Photo: Saurav Pradhananga)