A water doctrine for Central Asia

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Siyavush Mekhtan

2008-10-14

DUSHANBE, Oct. 10—The drafting of a water doctrine for Central Asia to address the consequences of global climate change, population growth and the environment was considered at a conference which focused on ways of improving water resource management to aid sustainable development,” said Anatoly Kholmatov, the technical director of the “International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.”

The recent conference was attended by independent experts and academics from Central Asian countries, senior officials from ministries and specialists from government departments. The Academy of Sciences and other Tajik institutions, as well as representatives of a number of embassies and international non-governmental organisations, also attended. The head of the Tajik energy research department in the Ministry of Energy and Industry, Khomidjon Orifov, said: “To solve water use problems, the countries of the region need to develop and implement an economic water use system that will be beneficial to all, and this is not yet in place.”

One way of using water resources efficiently would be to create a system to prevent the risk of water-related natural disasters by building new hydroelectric power stations, the reservoirs of which would store the necessary volume of water and electricity and also lower the risk of flooding. “Central Asia has been experiencing annual water shortages for several years now, and this is having a negative impact on the economies of the region,” Orifov said. “All the countries in the lower reaches of the region –Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan – must bear an equal share of the costs currently being borne only by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the countries where the region’s water resources originate.”

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