Syr Darya (River)

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Syr Darya (River) Facts

Basin Area: 250,000 250,000 km²
96,500 mi²
Type:watershed or basin, river or creek

Includes Riparians: Tajikistan; Kyrgyzstan; Kazakhstan; Republic of Uzbekistan;
Facts about included riparians are at the end of the article.

All Facts about Syr Darya (River)

The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is seeking to expand its economy through the construction of an additional hydropower dam on the Syr Darya River upstream from the largest water using countries, potentially restricting their flows for irrigated agriculture. The Syr Darya originates in Kyrgyzstan and flows through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan before flowing into what remains of the Aral Sea. Agriculture represents about 89 percent of total water withdrawals in the Syr Darya Basin, and the countries of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan account for over 80 of the water used in agriculture in the Basin. Planned construction of the Kambarata-1 dam by Kyrgyzstan, has led to threats of conflict by Uzbekistan. Here we find that the water management structure organized under the Soviet Union fails to meet the independent development goals of each nation. Irrigation methods used in the region are among the least water efficient forms of irrigation used today, causing land degradation and creating an artificial shortage of water that drives tensions over use of transboundary waters. Alternative water management models must be used to prevent conflict and allow for economic development in the region.

The key question addressed in this case is: What effective mechanisms can downstream riparians use to protect their water related interests/rights? Here we find that reducing demand in agriculture could improve water availability by making water a more flexible resource and reduce tensions over allocation, while at the same time allowing for economic development upstream. Additional potential for mutual gains solutions exists in co-investment of upstream infrastructure by downstream countries. This is a highly challenging water management situation that has seen multiple attempts at resolution fail. Further research is necessary to further develop the ideas put forth in this paper and to assess their likelihood of success.

Case Studies linked to Syr Darya (River)[edit]

Articles linked to Syr Darya (River)[edit]

Riparians Water Features

Located in this basin- Tajikistan
Located in this basin- Republic of Uzbekistan
Located in this basin- Kyrgyzstan
Located in this basin- Kazakhstan

Projects and Initiatives Agreements and Treaties

Facts about Included Riparians

RiparianPopulation in BasinArea within Basin in sq. kmIrrigated Lands within Basin in sq kmAverage Discharge in cubic m per second
Republic of Uzbekistan