KABUL (BNA): As the crisis of water decline looms globally, the president of Uzbekistan says, emergency measures to conserve water will be declared in the country starting from the beginning of the next Gregorian year
He stated that the country’s economy is severely endangered due to irrational water usage, resulting in an annual loss of $5 billion.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the water crisis, revealing that only 20% of Uzbekistan’s water resources are within the country, while the rest are located in neighboring countries.
The crisis is exacerbated by the mismanagement of transboundary resources and their decline due to climate change.
Mirziyoyev mentioned that approximately $1 billion is spent annually on water management in the country, but the budget prioritizes education, healthcare, and agriculture.
He said that water resources are not effectively utilized.
For instance, the cost of irrigating one hectare of cotton fields annually is 10 to 11 cubic meters, while other countries with similar climates use half or one-third of the amount due to proper resource management.
Furthermore, experts predict that by 2030, water scarcity in Uzbekistan could reach 15 billion cubic meters.
In response, the President outlined several priority tasks to enhance the efficient use of natural resources.
Firstly, the construction of 1,500 kilometers of irrigation canals was announced for the upcoming year, four times more than the current year. Additionally, around 2,000 kilometers of canals are planned to be built by 2025.
Local authorities have been instructed to initiate the construction of new irrigation systems.
The second priority is the introduction of water-saving technologies.
Only 30% of the 4.3 million hectares of irrigated land in Uzbekistan utilizes innovations leading to water conservation, resulting in reduced fertilizer and fuel consumption with increased efficiency.
The third priority is minimizing water delivery costs.
Due to outdated equipment, 80% of pumping stations have high energy consumption.
To address this, Mirziyoyev proposed organizing the modernization of these irrigation facilities with the participation of private partners.
Numerous projects are already underway, with plans to upgrade 95 stations and tender 118 others, possibly outsourcing management to foreign companies.
During the Soviet Union era, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan supplied abundant water resources to countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in the summer, but no such agreements exist among Central Asian countries now.