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Remarks by H.E Said T. Jawad Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States At the Water Resources Roll-Out Event for United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Embassy of Afghanistan
Washington, DC
June 16, 2010

Mr. Matt Larsen,
Mr. Jack Medlin,
Mr. Tom Mack,
Mr. Said Mirzad
Members of the Press,
And Ladies and Gentleman,

Welcome to the Embassy of Afghanistan. It is wonderful to have you all here today to launch yet another important study of resource in Afghanistan: water resources in the Kabul Basin.

We are very grateful for the work of the United States Geological Survey for working with the Afghan Geological Survey and our Ministry of Energy and Water. The USGS has a long history of working with us and assisting our government. The USGS experts identify and map the mineral, water, and petroleum resources of Afghanistan. More importantly, they pass their knowledge on to our own geologists and geographers. They have been an invaluable asset for bringing advanced technologyinto Afghanistan and transferring their professional skills to build the capacity of our institution. I am proud of the working relationship between my embassy and USGS and would like to recognize the valuable hard work of Mr. Mirzad.

As we launch the water study, we are also excited about the news of an estimated mineral wealth of $1 trillion dollars in Afghanistan; including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and coal are cited in the report as well as more precious and industrious elements such as niobium which is used in producing superconducting steel. Significant amounts of lithium deposits in Ghazni province have been identified and surveys are currently underway on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where experts believe to be even more lithium deposits. All these minerals are in demand and have many pplications in the computer and electronics industry.

For the first time in history, the US Geological Survey is currently leading a systematic scientific survey of Afghanistan’s deposits of mineral wealth and combining the precious resources in a unified report. These unified reports prove to be invaluable for the maximum extraction of the minerals already known and the discovery of new deposits. The training of Afghan experts and scientists will sustain the growth and maintenance of an infrastructure that will support the systematic development, extraction and monitoring of mineral deposits.

The identification of our natural resources and water is critical to Afghanistan's rapid and sustained evelopment. By careful and systematic recording of the weather and rainfall, we can maximize agricultural output by selecting crops that grow best within a specific micro-climate. For the first time throughout Afghanistan, meters have been installed in most of the major rivers and streams to monitor the hydrology so that water can be managed with maximum efficiency.

Understanding the water resources is vital to Afghanistan. A joint effort between the USGS and AGS has provided a deeper understanding of water resources in the Kabul Basin. With the population increasing, the report estimates the water needs of the Kabul Basin will increase from 112,000 cubic meters per day to 725,000 cubic meters per day, by the year 2057. It is important to understand these measurements in order to enable us to provide water for the people and the urrounding agricultural areas. This investigation utilized remotely sensed data and satellite imagery, including glacier and climate data; recent climate-change analyses; recent geologic investigations; analysis of stream flow data and groundwater-level analysis.

Furthermore, petroleum and natural gas could be a major contributor to the future prosperity of Afghanistan. Over 150 million barrels of oil reserves and more than 4,500 billion cubic feet of gas have been identified. The potential for natural gas could be as high as 35 trillion cubic feet. Natural gas resources exist in and around the northern city of Sheberghan as well as the Amu Darya basin and we look forward to developing those resources. The sophisticated technology to map potential oil and natural gas reserves has delivered the most comprehensive assessment in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has passed new mineral and hydrocarbon laws that meet international standards of governance. The Ministry of Mines has recently completed a new business plan that aims to reorganize and reform in order to set in motion an efficient and transparent development of Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth.

Let me again express my most sincere appreciation for the dedication of each and every member of the United States Geological Survey in Afghanistan. Your skilled expertise continues to advance our understanding of the land we live in.

Thank you.