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Afghanistan: Increasing Access to Urban Water and Sanitation

Afghan Urban Water and Sanitation (AUWS) Activity' challenge: |


Across Afghanistan, only 21% of urban residents are served by a piped water connection to their home, and 52% with access to an improved toilet facility. Even where piped services are available, the quality of the service is often poor, with limited service hours or quality that does not meet health standards. There are no collectively organized or centralized mechanisms for managing wastewater at a city-level in any urban area of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Corporation (AUWSCC), the commercialized state enterprise for water supply and sewerage, has seen moderate success in the expansion of piped water services and in their efforts to improve cost recovery since reforms in 2006. But a low level of technical and managerial capacity, combined with infrastructural deficiencies, remain limiting factors within the organization for improving services and cost recovery.


The USAID AUWS Activity supports AUWSCC at their Kabul headquarters and sub-offices at six major cities in Afghanistan. The specific objectives of this activity are:

  • Increase technical and operational performance of AUWSSC.
  • Enhance sanitation service delivery and planning.
  • Improve water and sanitation infrastructure.

The project works with AUWSSC and the Ministry of Urban Development and Land (MUDL) to implement practical inventions that strengthen existing systems and processes, building upon the existing skills, policies, plans and strategies of AUWSSC and MUDL. Interventions include baseline assessments and other available data to develop tailored approaches for capacity building and technical assistance, infrastructure interventions with appropriate operations and maintenance considerations and plans to ensure the sustainability of the investment, and sustainability included as a key consideration across all interventions.

Goals and Results

By the end of the five-year implementation period, the AUWS Activity is expected to result in:

  • 20-30% improvement in cost recovery ratio for at least five AUWSSC strategic business units.
  • A minimum of 1 million residents with increased access to urban water or sanitation services.
  • Demonstrable improvements in the institutional capacity of AUWSSC, including internal controls, budgeting processes, transparency, performance-based management, and planning and management capacity.
  • Strengthened partnerships with the private sector for water and sanitation services provision.
2019 - 2024
Implemented by
DT Global US
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