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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Warren Higginbotham, from Haskell, Okla., construction engineer for the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team, takes a measurement during a visit to a village near Gardez Nov. 4. The ADT is working to improve the agricultural production in the village by repairing and improving the detention pond which would allow for a regulated flow of water to the village instead of the spring runoff. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. John P Sklaney III, 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers of the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team conducted a mission to plan for repairing and renovating a detention pond at a village located near Gardez.

Heading east, the ADT travelled to the hills surrounding Gardez. It was a steady climb and the terrain transitioned into rolling terrain not unlike what would be seen in western Oklahoma.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Warren Higginbotham, from Haskell, Okla., the construction engineer for the ADT, led the mission to view the current detention pond, which was damaged during last spring’s winter snow melt runoff. Higginbotham said the visit also allowed ADT members to get a perspective on what projects the village needed completed, in addition to the pond, to further the agricultural development in the region.

“The detention pond will allow for water runoff from the spring to be captured and then released in a much more controlled manner,” said Higginbotham. “A constant supply of water would allow for better irrigation of the village’s crops.”

A secondary purpose of the pond would be to alleviate the torrent of water that normally comes every spring with the snow melt in the mountains.

“The pond needs to be repaired and deepened which would allow it to hold more water,” said Higginbotham.

The pond has been filled in with years of silt which has drastically reduced its useful capacity. It will have the capacity to hold about 5,000 cubic meters of water once repaired. The pond would be able to hold more than 10,000 cubic meters of water if the ADT is able to get it deepened to around two meters.  

Another issue to be resolved would be that of silt and sedimentation.

“Most mountain stream fed ponds need to be dredged every few years,” said Higginbotham. The villagers told of an old dam in the region that filled in with more than five meters of silt in less than a decade.

Higginbotham said another project, if possible, would be to repair a karez located in the mountains above the village. A karez is a series of vertical shafts linked through a horizontal tunnel at the bottom that uses wind flow and the resultant condensation to generate a sustainable water supply, along with tapping into the underground water supply. A karez, being mainly underground, also reduces the amount of water lost due to evaporation.

A third project would be to build a dam across the mountain stream below the pond, which would allow for even more water being retained for irrigation use in farming said Higginbotham. If approved, the dam would be completed after the pond is repaired since it is a much more involved construction project and might take a few months to complete. However, if the dam is completed, it would greatly increase the amount of water storage for farming and the villagers’ needs.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin From, resident of Enid, Okla., the information operations noncommissioned officer for the ADT, was able to pass out coloring books and other supplies to Afghan children who came from more than a mile away. Afghan children seem to show up no matter where the ADT goes. In areas that a quick look shows not a single person, Afghan children will almost magically appear out of thin air, From said.

The ADT plans to return to the area to view the ongoing repairs of the improved detention pond and also return later to see its completion scheduled for next year.PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Lorn McKinzie, from Depew, Okla., the senior noncommissioned officer for the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team surveys the high plateau landscape during a visit to a local Afghan village Nov. 4. The terrain is reminiscent of parts of western Oklahoma, other than being at around 8,000 feet in elevation. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. John P Sklaney III, 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The security force platoon from the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team provides escort for the agricultural section of the ADT during a mission east of Gardez Nov. 4. The SECFOR platoon controls all of the unit’s movement. The ADT is working to improve the agricultural production in the province through a variety of projects. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. John P Sklaney III, 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 00:58


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