Training on hydrological modelling using JAMS/J2000 enhances Afghan expertise in hydrological dynamics and water availability assessment

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A training workshop on hydrological modelling using JAMS/J2000 was held from 25 October to 4 November 2018 in New Delhi, India, for professionals and academics from Afghanistan. It focused on hydrological processes and modelling and applying the J2000 hydrological model in the Panjshir catchment of the Kabul River sub-basin. Fifteen participants (including two women) from the 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) participated in the training, which was led by the following ICIMOD staff: Santosh Nepal, Water and Climate Specialist, assisted by Saurav Pradhananga, Research Associate – Hydrology and Climate Change, and Kabi Raj Khatiwada, Water Resources Management.

Participants at the training represented various government and educational institutions from Afghanistan. (Photo: Saurav Pradhananga/ICIMOD)

Fazullhaq Bakhtari, Director, Water Resources Department – MEW, shared during the opening session that it is essential to enhance understanding of water resources in Afghanistan’s river basins. He pointed out that such trainings can aid this understanding and complement water resources planning. Arun B Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager – River Basins and Cryosphere, ICIMOD, underlined ICIMOD’s commitment through its SWaRMA Initiative to create a better understanding of river basins in Afghanistan and how they might change in the context of climate change. He hoped that this training will provide necessary knowledge and skills to participants towards that goal. Neera Shrestha Pradhan, Programme Coordinator – SWaRMA, also highlighted that capacity strengthening is a key aspect of the SWaRMA Initiative and that this training will provide an opportunity for co-learning. 

During the first week of the training workshop, a theoretical description of hydrological processes with a focus on the JAMS/J2000 modelling system was provided. The second week involved a dedicated exercise for the Panjshir catchment. The participants were able to set up the J2000 hydrological model in the catchment and conduct hydrological assessments. The initial assessment shows that the basin is largely dominated by snowmelt processes. 

During the feedback session following the successful completion of the training workshop, Tayib Mahammad Bromand, Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Specialist at MEW, shared his appreciation of the opportunity to learn about different aspects of hydrological modelling and set up the model in the Panjshir catchment. Likewise, Ahmad Tamim Kabiry, representing NEPA, pointed to how the training was accessible and useful even for participants who were not from a hydrology background. Rohullah Malikzooi, Professor at the KPU, shared how this very useful tool can be shared among his students and faculty to enhance understanding of the hydrological aspects of Afghanistan’s river basins.

Feedback session after the completion of the training workshop (Photo: Saurav Pradhananga/ICIMOD)

This 10-day training workshop was therefore able to co-create knowledge and provide co-learning opportunities by strengthening 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 study hydrological aspects and their changes under climate change.

This training was a part of the SWaRMA Initiative, which is supported by the governments of Afghanistan and Australia, and implemented by ICIMOD and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). 

All 15 participants along with the trainers during the closing ceremony (Photo: Saurav Pradhananga/ICIMOD)