Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Water tensions overflow in ex-Soviet Central Asia
by Staff Writers
Dushanbe, Tajikistan (AFP) Nov 20, 2012

The ex-Soviet states of Central Asia are engaged in an increasingly bitter standoff over water resources, adding another element of instability to the volatile region neighbouring Afghanistan.

Plans in mountainous but energy-poor Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for two of the world's biggest hydro-electric power stations have enraged their powerful downstream neighbour Uzbekistan which fears losing valuable water.

Russia as well as the other Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also being pulled into a dispute which dates back to the allocation of resources when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov warned on a visit to Kazakhstan in September that the battle over water resources could sharpen tensions to such an extent it could spark not just "serious resistance but war".

Tajikistan, still recovering from a 1990s civil war and blighted by energy shortages, wants to revive a Soviet-era project to build the Rogun dam over the Vakhsh River. If completed, it would be the world's biggest and stand 335 metres (1,150 feet) tall.

Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, wants to build a project that was also conceived in Soviet times -- the Kambarata-1 dam over the Naryn River that would stand 275 metres (900 feet) high.

Crucially, Russian President Vladimir Putin has given Moscow's backing to the Kyrgyz project while remaining considerably more circumspect about the even more controversial Rogun Dam.

The World Bank is supporting assessment studies on the social, economic and environmental impact of building the Rogun Dam, but emphasises it has made no financial commitment towards supporting construction of the power plant.

"I think that all the countries of the region have to take direct participation in all these projects for the worries to disappear," Putin said on a visit to Kyrgyzstan last month where he supported the Kambarata-1.

Asked about the Rogun Dam, he said: "We must pay attention to the worries of all the countries of the region, including Uzbekistan and lift all the problems that cause these worries. This is possible."

--- 'Soviet megalomania?' ---

Russia appears to be using the dispute for its own strategic ends, winning valuable commitments from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to host Russian bases up to 2032 and 2042 respectively.

"The conflict has entered a new phase after the long term military agreements signed between Russia and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan," said Tajik political analyst Saimuddin Dustov.

Regional analysts say that the dispute risks creating a dangerous fissure in Central Asia as both sides seek to attract supporters to their respective camps.

"Tashkent has started to gather its strength and is attracting Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan onto its side," said Tajik political analyst Abdugani Mamadazimiov.

"If there is not a joint solution then there is going to be a schism."

For Tajikistan, building the dam is a major strategic priority -- every winter, the power crisis means most Tajiks are only able to have three hours of electricity every day.

President Emomali Rakhmon has vowed Tajikistan will use its natural resources "for the benefit of its people" while adhering to international laws.

Yet his position does not find much favour in Uzbekistan, Central Asia's most populous nation with a population of almost 30 million and a top cotton producer.

It fears losing supplies for irrigating fields, suffering shortages over the summer and experiencing the cataclysmic effects of an earthquake around the Rogun Dam.

Central Asian states are haunted by the environmental catastrophe of the Aral Sea that lies between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan which since the 1960s has lost most of its water due to Soviet irrigation projects.

On a visit to Kazakhstan in September, Karimov accused Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan of forgetting that rivers are "cross-border" resources.

"The Rogun Dam and Kambarata-1 were designed in the 1960s-1970s when we were all living in the Soviet Union and suffered from one thing -- megalomania. But times change."


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Japan high-tech toilet maker eyes global throne
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 19, 2012
They are found in more than two-thirds of Japanese households and visitors to the country have marvelled at their heated seats, posterior shower jets and odour-masking function. But for the company that has sold over 30 million high-tech toilets, commonly known as Washlets, global lavatory domination remains elusive, especially among shy US consumers. "It's because of the cultural taboo ... read more

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

European reconstruction bank admits Kosovo

Post-storm, New Yorkers love Bloomberg - and Chris Christie

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

Bug repellent for supercomputers proves effective

Keeneland Project Deploys New GPU Supercomputing System for the National Science Foundation

Lockheed Martin Expands Range Of Cloud Computing Services for UK Government

Invisibility cloaking to shield floating objects from waves

Streams Show Signs of Degradation at Earliest Stages of Urban Development

Japan high-tech toilet maker eyes global throne

Water tensions overflow in ex-Soviet Central Asia

Japan high-tech toilet maker eyes global throne

Warming Temperatures Will Change Greenland's Face

New dating of sea-level records reveals rapid response between ice volume and polar temperature

Melting Glaciers Raise Sea Level

Why Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change

Thanksgiving turkeys in genetic study

China agrees to buy from Thai rice mountain

Plants and soils could exacerbate climate change as global climate warms

Desert farming forms bacterial communities that promote drought resistance

At least six major earthquakes on the Alhama de Murcia fault in the last 300,000 years

Roots of deadly 2010 India flood identified; findings could improve warnings

Nigeria flood victims face new hardship: returning 'home'

UN needs $79 mln for Pakistan flood victims

Nigeria to send 600 troops to Mali: defence minister

Ivory Coast admits possible army 'slip-ups'

Nigerian military offensive kills 'murderer of ex-general'

Dialogue 'preferred option' for Mali crisis: UN envoy

A 3-D light switch for the brain

Scientists improve dating of early human settlement

Oldest home in Scotland unearthed

Archaeologists identify spear tips used in hunting a half-million years ago

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement