Restoring and expanding hydro power plant infrastructure in Afghanistan

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Kajakai Hydro Power Plant, located on the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan, is the main source of electricity for Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, and Qalat. Restoring the plant’s full generation capacity was important to USAID, which originally commissioned the plant in 1975.

Decades of conflict, harsh weather conditions, lack of maintenance and spare parts, and normal wear-and-tear had severely deteriorated the Kajakai Hydro Power Plant's power generation capabilities. In September 2003, the two existing hydro turbines (Units 1 and 3) simultaneously failed and both required varying degrees of rehabilitation.

Louis Berger repaired and restored the hydropower units by manufacturing and installing new turbine runners and remanufacturing and re-installing other weak parts for both units as well as a new shaft for Unit 1. Since security was a concern during project implementation, Louis Berger worked closely with USAID to ensure that work was completed safely through heavy airlifting of personnel and supplies as needed. Louis Berger worked closely with the Afghan staff, and the plant is now operated and maintained by an all-Afghan staff, promoting local employment and the sustainability of the project.