Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dec.30
By Demir Azizov- Trend:
Uzbek government has approved a list of the projects to be implemented in 2015-2018 for mitigating the consequences of the environmental disaster in the Aral Sea basin.
The total cost of these projects exceeds $3.05 billion.
The list includes 23 national projects with the total cost of $2.972 billion and eight regional projects totaling $80.2 million in accordance with the decree 'On measures to implement the agreements reached during the international conference entitled 'Development of Cooperation in the Aral Sea Basin to Mitigate Consequences of Environmental Catastrophe'".
Plans are to finance the projects with preferential long-term loans totaling $1.9 billion and technical assistance funds worth of $200 million attracted from the international and foreign governmental financial institutions, as well as with funds of the Uzbek side.
The Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank, JICA, OPEC Fund for International Development, (OFID), Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) , K-Water (South Korea), UN agencies and others will take part in co-financing of the projects.
The largest projects are: the construction of two combined-cycle plants with the capacity of 230 - 280 megawatt each at Takhiatash thermal power plant (project cost - $ 710.2 million), project for modernization of Amu-Bukhara main canal ($402.1 million), and reconstruction of sections of Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beineu highway (A-380) ($356 million).
The list also includes the projects on creating shelterbelts on the dried bottom of the Aral Sea, activities for the development of high-yielding horticulture, several projects for the development and modernization of water supply systems, as well as small business and private entrepreneurship support projects in the region.
The international conference entitled "Development of cooperation on ecological disaster mitigation in the area of the Aral Sea basin", organized upon President Karimov's order, was held in the administrative center of the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan - Urgench at the end of October this year.
It was reported that over the past 50 years the total river flow into the Aral Sea, which is the fourth largest lake in the world, reduced by almost 4.5 times, but the area of the water surface of the sea by eight times. The water level in the sea dropped by 26 meters, the waterfront subsided by 100 - 120 kilometers. The water salinity increased from 10 to 120 hectoliters, but in the eastern part, it was up to 280 hectoliters.
A sand salt desert with an area of 5.5 million hectares was formed instead of sea.
More than 75 million metric tons of dust and poisonous salts, which caused various diseases among the population, rise from the drying up sea into the atmosphere every year.
More than a half of the genepool of flora and fauna disappeared in the region.
Over 300 projects worth $ 8.5 billion were implemented as part of the program on assisting the countries of the Aral Sea basin for 2011-2015.
Edited by CN