Expanding the Water Supply System to Improve Services in Kabul

In order to ensure that the Afghan people have access to a regular supply of high-quality drinking water in adequate quantities, the German Government is supporting the development and expansion of the water system in the capital Kabul.


Kabul’s residents have never had city-wide access to safe water. Even today, only one in seven lives in a household with a connection to the public water supply, which is in a poor state of repair. None of the water pipelines are new, and the old ones require maintenance as they lose up to 35% of the water through leaks. Groundwater resources close to the city are limited and are under additional pressure from illegal settlements. Additional resources must therefore be developed in order to meet Kabul’s future water needs.


The project aims to improve the urban water supply, reducing health risks and improving livelihoods for the citizens of Kabul.

Measures & Results

Construction work at Logar, Allaudin, Upper Kabul River and Afshar will increase well capacity and boost average water consumption, improve the quality of drinking water and reduce technical water losses caused by leaks, excessive pressure or other factors from 60% (in 2004) to 30%. The project thus aims to increase the total number of household connections to Kabul’s water supply from under 10,000 (in 2004) to 100,000.

In order to utilise the well fields’ full potential, amounting to 111,000 m³ per day, infrastructural measures are being carried out to upgrade Kabul’s urban water system so that it reaches up to 800,000 people. Within the project framework, 21 new drinking water systems have been established, and around half (54,100 m³/day) of the well fields’ planned water supply capacity has been connected to the system. Total capacity will be progressively increased during subsequent project phases.

Since the project began, the overall number of household connections in Kabul operated by AUWSSC (Afghanistan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Corporation) has increased from under 10,000 to around 57,800 and 420 public standpipes. Connections for the remaining households will be provided on a progressive basis as the project is rolled out. Technical and administrative losses have been reduced from 70% to 50-60%. The aim is to achieve a further reduction to less than 40%.

Building on these infrastructural measures, the Kabul Urban Water Supply Project – Phase III aims to provide a reliable water supply and improve water quality for up to 8,700 households in seven districts of the city. In addition to constructing wells, the project team manages the laying of collector and connecting pipes, expansion of pumping stations, installation of water mains and sub-mains in the centre of Kabul and maintenance of existing facilities. A modern water system not only improves livelihoods; it also helps to prevent water-borne diseases. The aim is to establish a reliable urban water system that is free from interruptions across the entire new supply area. In order to maximise its impacts, the project is co-funded by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement – AFD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

At a glance

Activities in the province  of Kabul.
Kabul Urban Water Supply (KUWS) Project II, Phase I + II; Kabul Urban Water Supply (KUWS) Project, Phase III
Commissioned by:
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Afghan Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), Afghan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Cooperation (AUWSSC)
Implementing organisations:
KfW Development Bank
Programme objective:
Meet basic needs and reduce health risks by providing an improved drinking water supply in Kabul.
Overall term:
Kabul Urban Water Supply II, Phase I + II: 2004 – 2018; Kabul Urban Water Supply, Phase III: 2012 – 2022