Quality of groundwater resources in Afghanistan
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Water is the main source of energy production and economy in Afghanistan where agriculture accounts for more than 50% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Access to safe drinking water is still a problem in the country, which has caused different health issues and even child mortality especially in rural areas. Groundwater is the main source of drinking water in the country. However, little knowledge is available about the quality of groundwater throughout the entire country, and its quality has not been investigated extensively yet like in other countries in the world. While most people think that consuming groundwater is a reliable and safe source of drinking water for health, the United Nations (UN) agencies report various kinds of waterborne diseases and even child mortalities due to drinking water quality in the country. In this article, significant geogenic and anthropogenic factors that play a vital role in groundwater contamination of the country are identified and explained. Different geogenic contaminations such as arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, and boron occur in several areas of Afghanistan that have a direct effect on human health. The water quality mapping for Afghanistan is completed for half of the country, which shows that groundwater is plagued by high levels of fluoride and arsenic in some areas. The water quality mapping of the other half of the country cannot be completed due to security concerns currently. Also, there are different kinds of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and dysentery that can be seen in different parts of the country because of anthropogenic activities which continuously deteriorate groundwater.