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Kanda [Afghanistan]


technologies_1659 - Afghanistan

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Sediqi Ali Ahmad

Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation


SLM specialist:

Sthapit Keshar

Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation


SLM specialist:

Arbab Ziauddin

Sourakhak Watershed Committee, Kahmard


Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
HELVETAS (Swiss Intercooperation)

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

A traditional underground water tank carved out of rocks to collect rainfall and snow water and reduce evaporation losses.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Kanda is an indigenous technology for collecting rain and snow melt. The technology comprises an underground tank carved out of rock (limestone), channels to convey the runoff into the underground tank or kanda and a rocky catchment from where runoff is collected. Kanda technology is applied in Afghanistan in many places, particularly in areas which experience scarcity of water for human beings, livestock and irrigation.

Purpose of the Technology: Due to high evaporation rates and low precipitation, harvesting runoff in open tanks is not an efficient way of water harvesting. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is implementing community based watershed management projects in Kahmard district of Bamyan province (Afghanistan) since 2008 with financial support from the International Swiss Re Award for sustainable watershed management (2009) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). One of the activities for sustainable watershed management is plantation of fruit and non-fruit trees in the selected watersheds (upland areas) which were used for grazing and extraction of vegetation for domestic use. Due to water scarcity in the upland areas, irrigation of the planted saplings becomes very difficult and water has to be transported on donkey from far locations. To overcome this constraint, Kanda was identified as the most potent technology for harvesting runoff and snow melt.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: For constructing Kandas, Kanda makers from Dara-e Suf district in Samangan province had to employed as there are no experts in Kahmard. Based on feasibility studies, eight kandas have been constructed including 4 kandas in Sourakhak wa-tershed and 4 in Baqa Kushta watershed. The size of each kanda is 6 m length, 6 m in width and 3 m in height. To convey the runoff into the tank, 10-20 m long graded channels were carved out of the rocks. The establishment cost of one Kan-da was approximately US$ 7163. Kanda making requires special skills, especially when it is carved out of rocks. A kanda maker has sound understanding of the area’s geology, and this wisdom is gained through learning by doing and ances-tors.. In Kahmard, 2-3 experts worked for 4-5 months for one Kanda.

Natural / human environment: In 2012, due to sufficient rains, 2 Kandas which did not have leakage problems in Sourakhak watershed got full with runoff water, which was then used for irrigating 6500 saplings seven times during the year. Kahmard district has a semi-arid cli-mate. Some years are dry with rainfall of about 190 mm. Considering this context, it becomes very necessary to tap rainwater, especially in the rainfed uplands, and use it for irrigating saplings or for livestock.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:


2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Kanda technology is an age old water harvesting traditional technology.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • access to water

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing land:
  • Semi-nomadism/ pastoralism
Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Improved pastures
Main animal species and products:

Sheeps, goats


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Scarcity of water in the upland makes plantation activities and livestock productivity difficult. Carrying water from far places for irrigating plants is an expensive activity.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Degraded upland watershed resulting severe flash flood.

Forest products and services: timber, fuelwood, fruits and nuts, grazing / browsing, nature conservation / protection, protection against natural hazards

Other forest products and services: flash flood

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Grazing land: Gi: Intensive grazing/ fodder production

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Grazing land: Ge: Extensive grazing land

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

Longest growing period in days: 90; Longest growing period from month to month: March-July

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • water harvesting

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.005 km2.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

structural measures

structural measures

  • S11: Others

Specification of other structural measures: Under ground cistern

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Main causes of degradation: over-exploitation of vegetation for domestic use (Bush collection for fire wood), overgrazing (By sheep and goets), droughts (Natural climate phenomenon), land tenure (Common land without good management), poverty / wealth, governance / institutional (Lack of organizationals for organization for supporting management of common resources.)

Secondary causes of degradation: crop management (annual, perennial, tree/shrub) (Rainfed agriculture), Heavy / extreme rainfall (intensity/amounts) (Change in climate patterns), population pressure (Fast increasing population which depands on natural resources for livelihoods), war and conflicts (Leading to uncontrolled cutting down of trees and shrubes)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology


Helvetas Swiss Intercooperatio, Kabul Afghanistan

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

Technical drawing of a Kanda constructed at Baqa Kushta watershed in Kahmard district (Bamyan province).
Size of one Kanda tank:
Width :6m
108 cu.m water can be stored in one Kanda.

Location: Baqa Koshta watershed. Kahmard

Date: 24/03/2013

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: high

Technical knowledge required for land users: high

Main technical functions: control of concentrated runoff: retain / trap, water harvesting / increase water supply, Reduction in evaporation and seepage losses

Secondary technical functions: improvement of ground cover

Structural measure: cistern(from rock)
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 3
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 6
Length of ditches/pits/dams (m): 6

Construction material (other): Constructed from rock

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • US Dollars
Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour kanda 1.0 5640.0 5640.0 15.0
Equipment Equipement kanda 1.0 458.0 458.0
Construction material Materials kanda 1.0 1065.0 1065.0 8.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 7163.0

Duration of establishment phase: 0 month(s)

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. Cleaning of the canals and Kanda Structural once/year

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Cleaning of the canals and Kanda persons/day/kanda 2.0 5.0 10.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 10.0

The kanda is for water collection which runoff and snow melt. The usage of water for sapling irrigation because there is upland and no water resources.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil depth on average: Because there is fully of rocks.

Soil texture: Mostly rocky

Topsoil organic matter: Because there is erosion

Soil fertility is low (Loss by wind and water erosion)

Soil drainage / infiltration is poor because there is fully of rock

Soil water storage capacity because of rocky catchment

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

> 50 m

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial
Off-farm income:
  • 10-50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Difference in the involvement of women and men: Because there is to much workload

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

10% of the land users are rich.
40% of the land users are average wealthy.
50% of the land users are poor.

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


risk of production failure

Water availability and quality

drinking water availability


drinking water quality

Income and costs


Other socio-economic impacts

expense for construction


Socio-cultural impacts

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


livelihood and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

Increased availability of water for small scale irrigation such as trees, sapling and livestock and increase successful afforestation in dry land areas which in the longer term will lead to increased income, fuel wood and timber for land user and greener watersheds

aesthetic value due to greener watershed


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

harvesting/ collection of water


surface runoff

Comments/ specify:

due to water harvesting

Other ecological impacts

sediments due to excavation of rocks


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding


damage on public/ private infrastructure


Contributes to flash flood risk reduction by supporting regreening effort


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive


This technology is very positive and useful for land users and collected the water for irrigation and livestock.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology


Comments on acceptance with external material support: It is an indigenous technology applied in many other districts of Afghanistan in Dara-e Suf and Ruy-i Doab districts of Samangan province by several families either collectively or privately without external support. In Dare-e Suf are not constructed inside of rocks but in soil.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
The technology supports plantation activities in sites which are far from perennial water sources

How can they be sustained / enhanced? The collected water should be used efficiently during irrigation by combining with conservation measures like mulching, drip or pitcher irrigation
As the kanda catchment is rocky, infiltration losses are minimized and most of the surface runoff is harvested

How can they be sustained / enhanced? The channel must be constructed properly so that all runoff is trapped and conveyed to the Kanda.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
An indigenous multipurpose technology

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Kanda size can be improved if the catchment area and precipitation amount are considered. This also depends on availability of long-term rainfall data.
Requires minimum maintenance when constructed properly

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Kanda, conveyance canals, sediment pits and catchment areas should be cleaned. If any leakages occur in the tank, they should be sealed.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Due to a lack of geological and hydro-meteorological information, it is not possible to prepare precise and cost-effective kanda proposals Make best use of traditional wisdom, install hydro-met stations if possible and make adjustments based on regular monitoring.
If the kanda and sediment trap tanks are not cleaned regularly and the kanda opening is not covered, sedimentation can be problem leading to reduced Kanda capacity and also animals could fall Cleaning and maintenance works must be carried out by the local people every year before spring rains. The openings must be covered.
Due to availability of water, there can be grazing pressure near the Kanda Watershed committee members and guards should ensure that the site is protected from over grazing. Construct Kandas outside the selected watershed for livestock purposes.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Establishment cost is high if the catchment is rocky Needs external support during the establishment phase
Lack of kanda makers in some districts like Kahmard Get kanda makers from other districts and build capacities of interested local people.

7. References and links

7.3 Links to relevant information which is available online

URL: Technology Database)

Links and modules

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