The regional program for rational use of water resources will open a new stage in the cooperation of Central Asian countries on the joint use of transboundary water resources and help them to jointly implement water and energy projects, the Uzbekistan Minister of Water Resources (MWR), Shavkat Hamroev told today at a press briefing.
He believes that such a program will also allow the adoption of new regional legal documents on the use of water resources of Syr Darya and Amu Darya, as well as mitigate environmental problems in the region together.
The mnister Hamroev noted that over the past two years, Uzbekistan, through joint working groups with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, have resolved "a lot of pressing issues on water cooperation."
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to adopt a regional program for the rational use of water resources in Central Asia at a meeting of the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea in August 2018. In October 2019, the draft program was discussed at an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations “Aral Sea Area – A Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies”.
According to MWR, due to water shortage, Uzbekistan has recently reduced annual water consumption from 64 BCM to 51–53 BCM per year in the 80s. The water consumption per person in the republic decreased to 1,560 cubic meters per year, while the country's population grew over the years from 15 million to almost 34 million in 2020.
According to the Central Asian Interstate Commission for Water Coordination, water availability in Central Asia may decrease by almost 25% by 2040 - to 1,500 cubic meters per year per person, due to increased consumption and economic growth in the region.
In the spring of 2017, the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia distributed the drafts of two conventions on the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, which create the legal basis for constructive cooperation in the water sector between the countries of the region.