SOCIO-GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOECOLOGICAL FEATURES OF WATER SUPPLY IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN REGION
Abstract and keywords
Abstract (English):
The article makes an attempt to highlight the issues of water resources management in the Aral Sea Basin (ASB), the problems arising on the way to their solution, or minimization from the standpoint of environmental sustainability and balanced nature management, as well as the problem of regional cooperation.

Keywords:
Amu Darya, Syrdarya, transboundary rivers, water salinity, ecology, Central Asia, irrigated areas
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The state independence acquired by the countries of Central Asia contributed to the rupture of economic and interstate relations between them. The problems facing the Central Asian states of finding ways that will help them approach economically and technologically developed countries require finding new ways of integration, mutual understanding, especially in the area of ​​water resources distribution.

The territory of the Central Asian states occupies a total area of ​​about 4 million km2. It covers the subtropical zone and the southern outskirts of the temperate latitudes and in the geographical aspect is a vast closed drainage area of ​​the closed Aral-Caspian basin. Being in the zone of inland deserts and remoteness from seas and oceans, it is characterized by a purely continental climate.

According to forecasts of international research organizations, the next 20 years may become a turning point for the development of world civilization due to the threat of water shortage. In the states of Central Asia today, the "water issue" has become a serious factor in interstate relations and regional security. With high rates of population growth and a low level of economic development, the labor market now and in the future will experience significant demographic pressure. A significant increase in the demographic potential of the region with an underdeveloped economy can exacerbate the problems of employment, labor migration, and increase social tension. Analysis of available sources on this issue [3, 4] and our own calculations [1,2] allowed us to reach the next level of generalization.

Features of the planned socio-economic development of the countries of Central Asia and the region as a whole are largely determined by the availability of water and energy resources (WER), which are extremely unevenly distributed throughout the region. The main sources of water supply for the region - the Syrdarya and Amu Darya rivers, are mainly formed in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

http://water-salt.narod.ru/pics/kompl_gu_sh.gif  http://water-salt.narod.ru/pics/podp_sh_gu.gif

Fig. 1. Simplified linear diagram of the Syrdarya and Amudarya river systems (according to Starikov N.P., 2006, funds of the SHC "Barki Tojik") 

These states today do not have the technological capabilities to discover commercial reserves of oil and gas, although, according to experts' forecasts, there are industrial reserves of hydrocarbons in the depths of these republics. For Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, this ratio develops in the opposite way, and they are the largest regional exporters of hydrocarbon raw materials. In the structure of energy production in the upstream countries, over 80% is accounted for by hydropower, while about half of their domestic needs for primary energy resources they have to meet through imports from downstream countries. The presence of SER in the runoff formation zone and the absence of technologically and economically accessible industrial reserves of organic fuel there dictate the need to develop the hydropower potential of rivers. The problems of further development of the SER countries of the region, the maintenance of water facilities require their resolution, taking into account the emerging economic contradictions and the need to develop mechanisms for economic integration. The destruction of stable ties that operated within the framework of the previous water-energy scheme, economic and financial difficulties, deterioration of the technical condition of the water-management and energy infrastructure, the different periods of economic reform in the countries of the region, the resource-absorbing style of management predominantly determine the ineffective use of SER, the deterioration of the technical condition of the water management and fuel and energy infrastructure of the countries of the region.

The measures taken to control the state and use of water resources of transboundary rivers, accounting for water intake and making forecasts of water resources are insufficient. Existing intergovernmental agreements on the procedure for the use of SER, weaken the economic, energy and environmental security of the region. Of the two components necessary for agriculture in these conditions, it is possible to note the availability of free land reserves (tab. 1) and the fact that all countries in the region, to one degree or another, plan to use them in the future (tab. 2).

Table 1

Availability of free land reserves

Country

Area, ha

Suitable for processing

Worked area

Actual irrigated area

Kazakhstan

34440000

23872400

1658800

786200

Kyrgyzstan

12490000

1570000

595000

422000

Tajikistan

14310000

1571000

874000

719000

Turkmenistan

48810000

7013000

1805300

1735000

Uzbekistan

44884000

25447700

5207800

4233400

ASB

154934000

59474100

10140900

7895600

 

Table 2.

Past and forecasted data on the areas of irrigated land, thousand hectares

Year

Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Total

1990

782

410

706

1329

4222

7449

1995

786

416

719

1736

4298

7955

2000

786

415

719

1714

4259

8101

2010

806

434

1064

2240

4355

8899

2025

815

471

1188

2778

6441

11693

 

This table shows that a relatively small increase in the area of irrigated land is predicted in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. However, in countries with the largest area of irrigated land (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), a significant increase in the area of irrigated land is expected by 2025 and, accordingly, an increase in water consumption in the agricultural sector of the region's economy, which will significantly increase the shortage of water resources in it and increase competition for water, both inside countries and between them. At the same time, the ecological allowable volume of water use in -5 Central Asia should be at least 78-82 km per year. Cotton, undoubtedly, remains the leading export item for the future, and the countries of the region will increase its production. The first three countries predict that the increase in the average annual yield by 2025 will be 3.0 t/ha. This figure is 10% higher than in 1990. In Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the projected yield for 2025 is significantly higher and will amount to 4.7 and 5.0 t/ha, respectively, which is almost twice the current level of production and the level of production in 1990 ( Table 3)

Table 3

Gross production (thousand tons) and average annual yield * (t/ha) of cotton in Central Asia and their forecast

Year

Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

1990

323

2.7

218

2.7

377

2.8

927

2.3

4900

2.8

1995

154

2.2

88

2.3

314

1.4

1.035

2.2

3.438

2.6

2000

296

1.9

91

2.6

330

1.4

1.407

2.2

3.280

2.2

2010

320

2.8

107

2.9

810

2.8

3.000

4.5

4.500

3.2

2025

330

3.0

140

3.0

1.050

3.0

3.600

4.7

7.250

5.0

 

* Average annual yield data are shown in italics.

At the same time, agriculture itself also does not have sufficient funds to expand production. The yield of the main crops in the Central Asian countries is very low. Naturally, such agricultural production is unattractive for external investors as well.

The region is characterized by population growth [tab. 4]. There are various estimates of the region's population in the near future and their incorrect application, for example, underestimation of labor migration processes [33, 62], can significantly affect the choice of strategic approaches to the parameters of sustainable development.

Table 4

Population of Central Asian countries, million people

Year

Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

      Total

1990

16.7

4.3

5.4

3.7

20.3

50.4

1995

16.0

4.6

5.9

4.6

22.9

54.0

2000

14.9

4.9

6.1

5.4

24.3

55.6

2016

17.9

6.0

8.7

5.5

31.85

69.3

2025

25.9

8.4

9.0

13.1

40.3

96.7

 

Forecasts for 2025 for all five Central Asian republics show a gross population growth in the region compared to 2016 in the amount of 18.9 million people. Based on these data, it follows that by 2025 the size of the entire population of the region will increase with the rate of average annual population growth, in the amount of 1.9%.

In addition, the situation is aggravated by the constantly progressing salinization and degradation of lands, primarily irrigated ones. The area of ​​irrigated land in the ASB, where the salinity of the top 1 meter soil layer is classified as moderate or severe, accounts for about 35% of the total irrigated land in the basin.

An important role in the deterioration of water use in transboundary rivers of the macroregion is played by the quality of water in these water basins. Using data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Central Asia Region Environmental Center (CAREC), an analytical report on water quality in the Amu Darya and Syrdarya river basins can be compiled. The analysis showed that an important role in the deterioration of water quality in these water basins is played by collector-drainage waters with an increased content of salts of sulfates, magnesium, nitrite nitrogen, fluorides, and pesticides. In addition to oxygen starvation of rivers, these components lead to the degradation of their biological components, and the ionic and biogenic composition of water deteriorates. Using published statistics on the chemical composition of the river. Syrdarya, the authors provide data on the influence of collector-drainage waters on the total salinity of water in this river basin from the source to the mouth (tab. 5).

Table 5

The influence of collector-drainage waters (CDW) on the total salinity of the river. Syrdarya in modern conditions

 

Water management area

CDW volume, million m3/year

Average mineralization, g/l

The volume of salts entering the river, million tons/year

Syrdarya from the source to the Toktogul hydroelectric complex

 

190

 

0.75

 

0.143

From Toktogul hydroelectric complex to Kairakkum reservoir

 

8680

 

2.205

 

19.139

From the Kairakkum reservoir to the Chordara reservoir

 

3360

 

3.005

 

10.097

From the Chordara reservoir to the mouth

 

 

1860

 

 

3.20

 

 

5.952

Total: on the river Syrdarya

 

14090

 

9.16

 

35.331

 

This table shows that due to the inflow of more than 14.0 million m3/year of collector-drainage water into the Syrdarya river, the average salinity increased to 9.16 g/l, and more than 35 million tons of mineral salts. Kazakhstan is already sounding the alarm about the incompliance of the water composition of the Syrdarya river with environmental requirements. In particular, the maximum permissible concentration of a harmful substance per unit volume of water (MPC) for chlorine is 0.7 g/l. In fact, this figure is 1.5-2.0 g/l. An important "merit" is also borne by mining and processing enterprises located in the immediate vicinity of this river, which extract tin, lead, tungsten and other heavy metals. It is long overdue to consider the ecological aspects of the atmosphere together with the problems of respect for the ecology of water basins.

All the above-mentioned problems of water supply and lack of respect for the ecological aspects of water resources are becoming a problem not only economic, but also social. The resources of irrigation and the agricultural production based on them in Central Asia have practically exhausted themselves today and cannot further serve the goals of sustainable economic development of countries and the region as a whole.

                                                                                                         

 

          It can be seen from this table that due to the flow of more than 14 million m3/year of collector-drainage water into the Syrdarya river, the average salinity increased to 9.16 g/l, and more than 35 million tons of mineral salts enter this river per year. Kazakhstan is already sounding the alarm about the incompliance of the water composition of the Syrdarya river with environmental requirements. In particular, the maximum permissible concentration of a harmful substance per unit volume of water (MPC) for chlorine is 0.7 g/l. In fact, this figure is 1.5-2.0 g/l.

It is necessary to determine the approaches that control the directions of transformations of the socio-geographical and ecological-demographic positions of the territories neighboring Tajikistan, and to identify the peculiarities of their influence on the socio-economic development of not only Tajikistan, but also neighboring states.

References

1. Mavloni M.S., Murtazaev U.I. Water and Energy Consortium: Barriers and Risks in Its Creation and Operation. / Integration of science and industry as a mechanism for the development of the mining and metallurgical industry of the Republic of Tajikistan. – Mater. scientific and practical conf., dedicated. 25th anniversary of the independence of Tajikistan. – Op. mining and metallurg. institute. - Buston, 2016, - P. 67-70.

2. Mavloni M.S. Prospects for the development of the water sector of the economy of the Central Asian states. - Abstract of the dissertation for the degree of candidate of geographical sciences. Dushanbe, 2018, P.24.

3. Averina L.A., Sorokin A.G. The need to create a water-energy consortium and the mechanism of its work to ensure the sustainable functioning of the water-energy complex //. Water resources of Central Asia / Materials of the scientific - practical conference dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the ICWC. Almaty. 2002 – P. 491-499.

4. Babaev A.G., Medsu A.R., Mukhabbatov H.M., Saliev A.S., Umarov H.U., Ergeshov A.A. Geographic aspects of economically balanced development of Central Asian countries // Bulletin of RAS, geographic series, 2009, №3 P.42-47.