Kyrgyzstan Puts Neighboring Countries on Verge of Water Shortage: Official
Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 29 July / corr. Trend T.Zhukov / Kyrgyzstan one-sidedly changed operating regime of Toktogulski reservoir, which led to the most serious hydro economic and ecological problems in the basin of the Sirdarya river, Shavkat Khamrayev, the Uzbek Deputy Agriculture and Hydro Economy Minister, stated in Tashkent on 28 July.
According to the Uzbek official's information, regime of reservoir is changed from irrigation into energy. Khamrayev said that it led to water shortage in middle and lower flow, where serious shortage of water was observed every summer.
"Despite of high water content of the Narin river, the Toktogulski reservoir produced much more water annually than it was necessary to satisfy own needs of Kyrgyzstan and irrigation, Khamrayev stated. The Kyrgyz power system exported electricity in commercial objectives by 5bln kWt/h over the past five years. Referring to severe winter, in 2007 and 2008 the Toktogulski power engineering specialists made two billion cu m of water, which is more than it was envisaged by schedule. Reducing water reserves about to the dead zone at the reservoir, they put themselves and the country, which is located in downstream, on the verge of water shortage. This is the main reason of crisis situation at the reservoir."
"There is not such a regulation in the international water law, under which Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have the right only for 50% of Narin and Sirdarya flow," the Uzbek Deputy Agriculture and Hydro Economy Minister said. "The United Nations (UN) Convention on protection and use of trans-border water flows and international lakes covers fair use of trans-border water resources on the base of universally recognized international standards, regulations and honesty. Using the capacity of Toktogulski complex, Kyrgyzstan tries to solve its interior problems at the expense of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan's water consumers."
Under a bilateral agreement, which was inked at the beginning of July, Kazakhstan purchases the Kyrgyz electricity at $0.05 per kilowatt (including transportation expenditure), and Kyrgyzstan increases water release to 150 cu m a second for Kazakhstan. After the talks, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry's Committee on water resources and the Uzbek Agriculture and Hydro Economy Ministry signed interdepartmental agreement. Under this agreement Uzbekistan freely deliver to Kazakhstan 600mln cu m water from the Kyrgyz Toktogulski reservoir on the Sirdarya river.
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