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Role in the Aral Sea Crisis

After the Soviet Union ended, Kyrgyzstan’s large farms were divided up into much smaller farms. Many of the new farmers possessed very little agricultural knowledge, and struggled to grow their food with efficiency. Irrigation processes in Kyrgyzstan are thus lacking in efficiency in general. Due to the geography of the area and its water resources, only about 23% of the country’s agricultural land has guaranteed water availability.[1]

Recently, an organization called Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation has been promoting drip irrigation systems throughout the country, in attempts to increase irrigation efficiency, prevent conflict and competition over water resources, and protect the soils from erosion.[2]

Fish production and the cultivation of rice and cotton are the main consumers of Kyrgyzstan’s water resources. Relative to some of its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan has impressive water resources. About 12% go to industry and household uses; the remainder goes to agriculture.[3]

Kyrgyzstan plays an important role internationally though because it’s responsible for around 25% of the Aral Sea Basin’s mean annual runoff.[4] A World Bank review of Kyrgyzstan in 2007 reported that the efficiency of the Kyrgyz portion of the Basin was only around 58%.[5]

In order to help run power turbines during the winter months, when they are prone to blackouts, Kyrgyzstan has taken, for many years, additional water from the Syr Darya, lessening the amount that reached the Northern Aral. Kazakhstan’s rehabilitation work on the Syr Darya increased the river’s capacity, allowing essentially any water released by Kyrgyzstan to reach the Sea. It seems to be the hope that with the increased capacity, Kyrgyzstan will retain a smaller portion of the river’s water so that more may reach the Sea.[6]

  1. ^ Ailoobayev, A.Sh.Dj. “National Report on the Regional Water Partnership (Kyrgyz Republic).” Global Water Partnership. Accessed July 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. “Saving water through drip irrigation in Kyrgyzstan.” Accessed July 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Mamatov, M.E., M.K. Cusupov, and B. Raimcanov. 2007. “Water Resources Problems in Kyrgystan.” 2007 International Congress on River Basin Management. Accessed July 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Aquastat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “General summary for the countries of the Former Soviet Union.” Accessed July 24, 2013.
  5. ^ The World Bank. 2007. “Integrating Environment into Agriculture and Forestry Progress and Prospects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Kyrgyz Republic, Country Review, November 2007, Volume II.” Accessed July 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Pala, Christopher. 2006. “Once a Terminal Case, the North Aral Sea Shows New Signs of Life,” Science Magazine, accessed July 24, 2013,

Case Studies Related to Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Articles linked to Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Riparians Water Features

Projects and Initiatives Agreements and Treaties

Agreement includes riparian- Agreement between the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the use of water and energy resources of the Sry Darya Basin, Agreement includes riparian- Agreement on the status of the International Aral Sea Fund and its organizations