Turkmen President explains regional importance of artificial lake in Karakum desert




March 19, 2010



President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov talked about the issue of water resources in Central Asia at a press conference at the end of the Turkmen-Tajik summit talks in Dushanbe.

"I would like to clarify this issue so that everyone understands the importance for both countries of work being done in this area. There often appear various publications in the press, distorting the meaning of our work, in particular, on the irrational use of water by states that are in the lower reaches of rivers," he said.

In particular, the president focused on the large-scale project implemented in
Turkmenistan to create an artificial lake in the Karakum desert. According to him, the purpose of this project is sanitation of environment and improvement of water management.

"As you know, for years water was simply dumped in the desert after washing arable land, forming a set of salt and herbicide saturated lakes causing serious environmental damage," Berdimuhamedov said.

"After joining the UN Convention to Combat Desertification,
Turkmenistan has already invested half a billion dollars and built canals, and now this water is diverted into a natural basin, which serves as a cup for the Turkmen Lake. Over time, as practice shows, water in this vast reservoir will undergo purification, and it will be possible to use it again - both for irrigation and for other purposes," he said.

"Today one can see first hand how wetlands and saline sites in the desert disappear, and how ecology is being restored. We will continue this work in the interests of future generations," the President of Turkmenistan stressed.

He also invited the representatives of Tajikistan to take part in an international scientific conference titled "Importance of the Turkmen Lake "Altyn Asyr" in improving the environmental situation in the region", which will be held in the town of Turkmenbashi in Balkan province in late March.