Only reservoirs situated at lower reaches of rivers should be studied in terms of environmental effects, says expert


December 18, 2009, Rasoul Shodon



Experts should carry out environmental studies of not all reservoirs, they should carry out assessment studies only of those that are situated at the lower reaches of rivers, Dr. Kholnazar Muhabbatov, Tajik expert on environmental issues, said in an interview with Asia-Plus.


According to him, reservoirs that are located in the mountain areas cause less damage to the environment.  “In Uzbekistan, reservoirs have been constructed in level grounds and they cause more damage to the environment,” said Dr. Muhabbatov, “From such reservoirs, water evaporates more, leading to warming in the area.”


The expert noted that acute problems facing the Central Asian region were the Aral Sea shrinkage and glacier melting.


“The downstream countries use waters of he Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers that fled the Aral Sea, not thinking about the environmental catastrophe,” he said.  The disappearance of the lake irreplaceable damage the region’s ecosystem, Muhabbatov noted.         


We will recall that according to some reports, from 1960 to 1998, the sea's surface area shrank by approximately 60% and its volume by 80%. In 1960, the Aral Sea had been the world's fourth-largest lake, with an area of approximately 68,000 km2 and a volume of 1100 km³; by 1998, it had dropped to 28,687 km2, and eighth-largest.  Over the same period, its salinity increased from about 10 g/l to about 45 g/L.


On the Tajik glacier melting problem, Muhabbatov noted that according to Russian experts, glaciers have reduced by 32 percent in Tajikistan in recent years.  “They expect this tendency to continue in the near future as well, and therefore, I consider that it is necessary to construct dams and preserve drinking water reserves in Tajikistan, because the whole Central Asian region well be to profit from this,” the expert said, adding that dams constructed in Tajikistan can be used both for power generation and irrigation purposes.


He also pointed the necessity of assessing safety of all dams constructed in the region.