Wasim Iqbal is an assistant research professor in School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. He obtained his master’s degree in water engineering and management from Asian Institute of Technology in 2010 and a doctoral degree in Water Engineering from Kasetsart University, Thailand in 2018. During his doctorate, he was also awarded a two-year research fellowship in the University of Central Asia and the CAREC Student Research Competition Grant, funded by World Bank and Smart Waters (USAID) project. In 2016, he was awarded the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Grant by the United States Department of State State’s Flagship Professional Exchange. Before joining ASU, he was director of Afghanistan National Water and Environmental Research Center and associate professor at department of Civil Engineering at Kardan University and visiting professor at Kabul Polytechnique University.
- Kasetsart University, Thailand | August 2013 to August 2018
PhD in Water Engineering and Management
Dissertation: “Drought analysis and forecasting for agricultural water management in Hari Rod River Basin, Afghanistan”
- Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand | August 2008 to August 2010
M.Sc. Degree in Water Engineering and Management
Thesis: “An investigation of drought and wheat production in Hari Rod River Basin, Afghanistan”
- Heart University, Engineering Faculty, Afghanistan | 2001 to 2005
B.Sc. Degree in Civil Engineering
My interdisciplinary research over the last twelve years has focused on engineering, as well as social, economic and management problems of water resources. My main areas of research include collaborative, watershed modelling and management, integrated and adaptive water resources management; participatory coupled human-water systems modeling as well as participatory socio-economic modeling; artificial intelligence applications in hydrology; sustainable agriculture; water governance and water security. This line of interdisciplinary research has led to several collaborations with national and international research institutions in close collaboration with diverse stakeholders.
- Iqbal, M.W., Jawadi, A (2022) Assessing the Water Governance Practices in Afghanistan: From Understanding to Functioning. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology (JEST). (Under Review)
- Jawadi, A., Iqbal, MW (2022), Nitrate contamination in Kabul province, Afghanistan: Reasons behind and conceptual management framework discourse. Journal of Mountain Science. https://doi.org/10.1007s11629-021-7002-1
- Naseri, M., Hussaini, M. S., Iqbal, M. W., Jawadi, H. A., & Puya, M. (2021). Spatial modelling of solar photovoltaic power plant in Kabul, Afghanistan. Journal of Mountain Science, 18(12), 3291-3305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-021-7035-5
- Iqbal MW, Donjadee S, Kwanyuen B, Liu SY (2018) Farmers’ perceptions of and adaptations to drought in Herat Province, Afghanistan. Journal of Mountain Science 15(8): 1741-1756. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-017-4750-z
- Iqbal, M.W., Donjadee, S. (2017). Drought impacts assessment and proposed drought management strategies in Afghanistan. Mountain Society Research Institute.
- Iqbal, M. W., Donjedee, S., & Kwanyuen, B. (2016). Farmers’ perception of water management under drought conditions in Badakshan Province, Afghanistan. In 2nd World Irrigation Forum (WIF2), Chiang Mai, Thailand (pp. 6-8)
- Iqbal, M.W, (2016). Country report on Climate, hydrology, and cryosphere data collection. International Conference on Climate and Environment Change Impact on the Indus Basin Waters (ICIMOD), Katmandu, Nepal.
- Bodhisatya Datta, Rael Sarmeen, Abul Basher, Waleed Khattak, Shankar Paudel, Wasim Iqba, Paul Watkiss, Ludovico Carraro, Ed Humphrey (2016). Scoping Green Growth Challenges and Opportunities in South Asia. Oxford Policy Managemtent, United Kingdom.
In my research, funded by Kasetsart University, I explored the rural farming community׳s perception of drought and climate change impacts on their socio-economic activities and environment, their adaptation at the household level and opinions on government mitigation measures in Lao Khuan district of Thailand. In order to fulfill the objectives of the study, I designed and conducted a structured questionnaire that contained both closed-ended and open-ended questions based on earlier drought-related socio-economic studies. In another research, funded by University of Central Asia, I compared the applicability of two frequently-used training algorithms of Artificial Neural Network, the Back-Propagation (BP) with the Levenberg-Marquardt (LM), to select the most appropriate algorithm for the development of a streamflow forecasting model in lower Hari Rud River basin, an important agricultural region in Afghanistan. I used this forecasted flow together with irrigation water and minimum demand as a basis for analyzing and selecting appropriate agricultural water management strategies. These proposed strategies were evaluated based on different scenarios of abstraction demand which are formulated based on a range of possibilities of developing agricultural fields. In another research with two of my colleagues from Afghanistan National Water and Environmental Research center, we assessed the flood risk increasing under climate change effects in a developed urban area of Afghanistan. We used Digital Elevation Model (DEM) -30 meters for extracting water flow and flood modeling. In my research study with IWMI, I developed a comprehensive simulation model to assess the impacts of current and future basin development, as well as climate change on demand/ supply in the Kabul River Basin, Afghanistan. This research had significant implication and gave scientific and technical understanding of water resources issues as well as basis for discussion and evaluation of tradeoffs in water management and allocation in short-term and long-term (by assessing impacts of climate change) water resources planning and management to the decision makers.
I am also broadly interested in the water management and water governance, and I have pursued this research interest jointly with my colleagues from Kabul University, ANWERC and Kabul Polytechnic University through projects funded by Ministry of Higher Education of Afghanistan. My IWRM paper, “Evaluation of IWRM implementation under rapid growth: experiences and lessons learned from Middle Kabul Basin, Afghanistan,” presents conceptualization and implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and strengthening potential for the last two decades in Afghanistan. I applied a local IWRM planning that considers effective utilization of land water and other available natural resources linked to vulnerabilities and livelihood opportunities and is designed in three sections namely, water management, land management and livelihood management. The results provided specific suggestions on the activity under these three themes while the government would consider any district irrigation plan. My Water Governance paper,” Assessing the Water Governance Practices in Afghanistan: From Understanding to Functioning “, investigates the level of implementation, efficiency, strengths and weakness of the water governance system in Afghanistan for the last two decades. The methodology in this study used some water governance principles and indicators framework to map-out the major institutions in water sector and to attain the essential information regarding water governance arrangements and functional aspects in Afghanistan. I used desk review, an exploratory qualitative design with participatory approach using focus group discussions (FGDs) and Key informant interviews (KIIs) as part of impact evaluation of the water governance system. I shared the findings with the relevant organizations in Afghanistan that helped water experts and policy makers to predict a possible future direction for the water governance functionality and to develop more appropriate water governance related policies in Afghanistan. In one of my research projects, contributing to improving the sustainability and increasing the wealth of the rural population of Afghanistan, by enhancing the social and economic development of rural communities and reducing hunger and vulnerability, I took part in providing policy tools to the Afghan government, donor community and practitioners to improve the management of ground water resources in Afghanistan. In this research, I collected the existing documents on groundwater quantity, quality, status and trends. To conduct a meaningful review of the documents, I designed a review checklist and each line item in checklist was customized to fit specific document and review needs. In the past two decades several national and international organizations had worked on the groundwater of Afghanistan and I could examine a total of seventy published and published documents, including laws, strategies, plans, policy guidance, internal administrative documents, transcripts of Parliamentary debates, and publications from the stakeholders.
Water Governance, Policy and Law
Water Disaster Risk Management
- The CAREC Student Research Competition Grant in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Central Asia and Afghanistan, awarded by the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin (World Bank) and Smart Waters (USAID) project | 2018
- International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Grant awarded by the Department of State’s Flagship Professional Exchange | 2016
- Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fellowships (CAARF), awarded by the Mountain Society Research Institute, University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan | 2013
- Outstanding Contribution to Education awarded by the President of the Kardan University, Afghanistan | 2012
- The Royal Norwegian Government Scholarship, awarded by the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand | 2008
- Editorial Advisory Board, Kardan Journal of Engineering and Technology, 2029-Present
- Associate Editor, KPU International Journal of Engineering and Technology (KPU-iJET), 2020-Present
- Technical Member of Water Resources Planning & Management Committee of American Water Works Association
- Technical Member of Upper Indus Basin (UIB) network
- Technical Member of Supreme Consul of Land and Water of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
- Member of ASHERA Association
- Member of Solution Exchange Community of Practice (CoP) on Sustainable Resource Management facilitated by UNDP Afghanistan