Expert warns conference climate change could spark greater competition for upstream water in Central Asia

By bne IntelliNews May 6, 2024

Around 77% of Central Asia’s annual watercourse is concentrated in the region’s upstream countries where the rivers' sources are located, namely in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, while the downstream countries use most of the water, according to Dogturbek Chontoev, director of Kyrgyzstan's Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower of the National Academy of Sciences. His remarks at an international conference on the shortage of water resources in Central Asia were reported by AKIPress on May 6.

By 2040, water stress in some areas of Central Asia is expected to increase by 2.8 times, Chontoev was cited as saying, adding that an aspect of climate change is that a greater increase in temperature is expected in the region compared to the global average.

"About 77% of the annual watercourse is concentrated in the countries where the rivers originate, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, while 85% of water resources are used for irrigation in the downstream countries: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The expected deterioration of water resources will have a long-term negative impact on food, energy and environmental security in the region, and may also increase competition for water between Central Asian countries," Chontoev was reported as concluding.

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