The rehabilitation work of the Sakha Canal located in Sakha village, Baharak district, Badakhshan began mid April this year. This 7.2 kilometer canal, the longest irrigation canal in Badakhshan Province, will serve 2,400 farming families on 648 hectares of arable land. Governor of Badakhshan Dr. Shah Wali Adeeb, the Baharak district governor, the mayor of Faizabad, heads of the Departments of Agriculture and Irrigation and Rural Rehabilitation and Development, USAID officials, representatives from IDEA-NEW, other line departments and community elders attended the ceremony marking the commencement of the renovation work.
The Governor of Badakhshan, Baharak District Governor, local community development centers, and the Department of Agriculture and Irrigation prioritized the canal project for rehabilitation because the existing structure was badly damaged by several seasons of flooding, leaving it filled with silt and debris. Without a functioning canal, local farmers have struggled to irrigate their crops.
IDEA-NEW will dredge the entire length of the 7.2 km canal; reinforce, line and covere two kilometers of the canal with stone masonry; construct a 140 m retaining wall, six culverts and a spillway; and will further excavate and widen the canal. The project will rehabilitate a vital community asset and provide local workers with an opportunity to earn much-needed cash income.
“The canal has been broken for about three years and it has been difficult for people who farm here,” said Fazluddin, a local community member who has helped to plan the project. “If we have enough water, we can even cultivate twice a year and this will be very helpful for us. The benefit of this canal is that everyone in the area will have enough water, and with more water, we will be able to convert some rain-fed areas into irrigated land. Right now, we have some water from other canals, but it is not enough and we have to take turns using it.”
IDEA-NEW plans to construct 13 irrigation infrastructure projects in Badakhshan Province that will rehabilitate about 50 km of canal structures in 2011 and 2012. These projects support the development of high-value agriculture and give workers an opportunity to participate in improving village infrastructure. The Sakha Canal rehabilitation will help fulfill IDEA-NEW’s objectives of improving access to irrigation and strengthening natural resource-based livelihoods.