Water Crisis in Central Asia Water Crisis in Central Asia
Water crisis is one of the main debatable question in the world because water scarcity affects more than 40% of globally; by 2025 1.8... Water Crisis in Central Asia

Water crisis is one of the main debatable question in the world because water scarcity affects more than 40% of globally; by 2025 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity that is particularly acute in Central Asia.

In Central Asia water has long been a major cause of conflict. Central Asia broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991 without a regional water management strategy. The division of the area into five countries i.e. Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan was not done keeping in mind the possibility of such a crisis in the future. Total population on these countries was about 66 million in 2013–2014.

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photo:freeworldmap

At the time of Soviet Union, there was a simple principle that energy rich Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan provide energy to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the winter.

On the other hand, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both rich in water resources, were supposed to provide water to the three countries.

Without water in the region’s two great rivers – the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya – the downstream agricultural powerhouses would cease to exist. Without power, life in the upstream countries would be torture in the crippling winters.

“The potential for disagreements always existed,” says Kazakh political scientist Rasul Jumali. “But disputes were always resolved by Moscow.”

Then with the downfall of USSR, the countries were left to face these water-energy crisis on their own.

They could have continued to share and for a few years they did but the energy-rich downstream countries found it economically better to sell surplus energy to other countries who gave them a higher price than their poor upstream neighboring countries.

So, in 2009 Uzbekistan started selling electricity to Afghanistan and pulled out of the Central Asian supply system altogether.

 

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Another event that made matters worse was that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan had started using more water to generate electricity in the winter, this caused an acute water shortage in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as they didn’t get enough water for their population or crops.

When Uzbekistan withdrew from the central power supply system in 2009, Kyrgyzstan had to install expensive new power lines, and the cost of electricity roughly doubled at the start of 2010 in order to pay the bill. Domestic heating costs rose even more steeply.

There have been shortages in Uzbekistan too, in the wake of the decision to sell gas and electricity to foreign buyers.

Now, the current situation of central Asia is many small towns and villages people now live with just a few hours of power a day and the water scarcity.