Central Asian Waters: Social, Economic, Environmental and Governance Puzzle

This book is a collection of research papers on water management in Central Asia, a political history of transboundary water management on the Amu Darya in Afghanistan, conflict and cooperation in the Aral Sea Basin and socio-technical aspects of water management in Uzbekistan, water and cotton production in Uzbekistan with introductory notes on water availability in Central Asia given the drying Aral Sea, sustainable water resources management and water sector reform in Central Asia.

 

The book’s introductory chapter states that the water-related challenges of the Central Asian republics including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, plus northern Afghanistan are indeed demanding. It is important to realize that, against the common perception, this region is not extremely water-scarce. The enormous environmental problems that have been created after 1960 are largely due to extremely uneconomic water use and due to policies that have not taken into consideration the sustainability of agricultural development, particularly in the basins of Syr Darya and Amu Darya Rivers. The per capita water use in the region is sky-high, being manifold in comparison to any other comparable part of the world. This waste of the valuable resource yields in very low economic gain, keeping the countries economically weak.

 

The book questions water scarcity, suggesting that Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, have more water, even than most European Countries. The book recommends avoiding the blame game of nature as less generous and instead approaching water issues from water use angle in Central Asia.

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