Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 22
By Nigar Guliyeva – Trend:
Economic losses from the lack of water cooperation in the Central Asian region reaches $ 4.5 billion annually, said Iskandar Abdullayev, Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC).
"Water cooperation in our region has certain unused opportunities. Recently, even a study was carried out on these unused opportunities. According to the experts' conclusions, at the moment we are losing $ 4.5 billion annually due to a lack of effective mutual cooperation between the countries," he said during the conference" Water Cooperation in Central Asia".
Abdullayev said that losses are observed in the insufficient productivity of agriculture due to lack of water resources, high prices for electricity due to the fact that the Central Asian countries do not cooperate on energy issues, and limited access to international finance.
"We must understand that the water issue is not purely technical, it is not the construction of hydraulic structures, planning and distribution," he said noting that this is a political issue, and there is a need for political dialogue.
Central Asia has limited water resources. The main sources of water in Central Asia are the Syr Darya and Amu Darya Rivers, mostly fed by snow- and glacier-melt from the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Tien Shan mountain ranges.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan sit upriver on the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, upon which Uzbekistan relies for water irrigated to for its cotton. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for their part, dam rivers for energy. Both are mountainous and lack the deep resource wealth of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The Central Asia states may also face sharp decreases in water supply in about 35 years as a result of global warming and drought.