Tajik expert: Uzbekistan ought to refrain from making any conclusions over Roghun’s construction
November 2, 2010, Payrav Chorshanbiyev
Tajik specialists are surprised at an article by V. Ahmadjonov, the deputy head of the water resource balance and water-saving technologies department of the Uzbek Ministry of Water Economy, posted on the Uzbek MFA website, in which he claims that recent statements by Tajik officials about terms of the filling of the Roghun dam with water are baseless and aimed at misleading Tajik people and international community.
Tajik expert Mirzosharif Islomiddinov says he is surprised at a stink raised by Uzbek authorities over the Roghun hydroelectricity project when Tajikistan agreed to suspend construction work at the Roghun site until the techno-economic, the environmental and social impact assessments for theproject are completed.
“At present only recovery operations are being carried out at the site,” said Islomiddinov, “Specialists are currently rehabilitating the powerhouse hall and tunnels that had been damaged in the early 1990s. No large scale construction work is being carried out there now. Tajikistan planned to block the Vakhsh River to further the construction of the Roghun station in October last year already but the operation was postponed until the end of this year. Later, Tajik authorities decided to set the date for the blocking of the river only after completion of the techno-economic, the environmental and social impact assessments for the Roghun hydroelectricity project.”
Islomiddinov considers that Uzbek authorities ought to refrain making any conclusions over Roghun’s construction, until the assessments for the project are completed.
Uzbek expert: Appeals must be confirmed by facts
November 2, 2010, D. Azizov
The statements made by Tajikistan about the filling of the Rogun hydroelectric power station's reservoir are invalid and aim to mislead the international community, Deputy Chief of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy Ministry's Water Resources Balance and Water-Saving Technologies Development Department Vohidzhon Akhmadjonov wrote in article today.
In his article, "Appeals must be supported by credible facts," on the Uzbek Foreign Ministry's website, the author wrote that Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi and Land Reclamation and Water Resources Minister Rahmat Bobokalonov falsely stated that "the reservoir will be filled within 17 years due to the Tajik quota of water resources and this will have no impact on downstream rivers of the country." He added that the claims are "absurd."
After the station is constructed, the reservoir will be filled within 7-8 years - initially up to the level of the dead volume, and then to meet designed pressures and rates. This means that the Vakhsh River will return to the vegetation period in June-August, Akhmadjonov said.
He also wrote that the specialists of the German Lahmeyer company came to the same conclusions regarding the schedule of filling the reservoir during their feasibility study in 2006.
It is worth recalling that Tajikistan frequently referred to the the feasibility study as independent environmental expertise, he wrote. However, now they pretend to forget about the technical findings of these foreign experts when the issue concerns filling the reservoir.
According to the same company's calculations, joint energy work at the station, together with the Nurek hydroelectric power knots, are insufficient to cover water scarcity in Uzbekistan during droughts.
"This system of water reservoirs is very real if we take into account that electricity generated by the station will be put on sale and Nurek will be forced to operate in a modern regime, covering Tajikistan's own energy needs," he said.
Akhmadjonov added that there are doubts about the calculations of Tajik diplomats concerning the volume of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, including those contained in the reservoirs.
There are 55 reservoirs with a total volume of 19.8 cubic kilometers in Uzbekistan. About five cubic kilometers are unused. The used volume has hit about 15 cubic kilometers. The total volume of only two reservoirs in Tajikistan - Nurek and Kairakum - is about 15 cubic kilometers.
"The mathematical calculations Zarifi concerning the actual volumes of water in the Aral Sea and the water accumulated in the Uzbek reservoirs must be corrected," he said. "It is not difficult to obtain real data on the water situation in the region at the current level of development of information communication. According to the recent estimates, the current level of the Aral Sea is more than 70 cubic km. A comparison of figures 15 and 70 is elementary arithmetic. The used volume of water reservoirs in Uzbekistan is almost five times less than the current level of the Aral Sea."
Taj ICOLD secretary calls on Uzbekistan to live within its resources
November 2, 2010, Zarina Ergasheva
Uzbek authorities have been financing interested experts for aggravation of the situation around the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP), Homidjon Aripov, the secretary of Taj ICOLD (Tajikistan’s national committee within the International Commission on Large Dams, or ICOLD), said in an interview with Asia-Plus.
According to him, Tajikistan must respond to all statements by Uzbek authorities and experts. “There ought not be idle and pin hopes on retired experts,” said Aripov, “Tajik MFA should note a protest against this dirty provocation that has far-reaching goals: to incite inter-ethnic conflict and cause a wide political response in order to break the construction of the Roghun HPP.”
The expert notes that Uzbekistan that is located in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers now use more than 80 percent of water resources of the basin, while only 8 percent of the flow forms on its territory. “To get economic profits from cotton growing Uzbekistan has used water running through its territory irrationally and unfairly; as a result of this, the water dries up long before reaching the Aral Sea which, as a result, has shrunk to a small remnant of its former size.”
“The Roghun HPP is not yet constructed, while the Aral Sea has already degraded. Where does Tajikistan come in? You destroyed the Aral Sea and have the guts to admit this. Karakalpakstan autonomous republic now suffers from aridity due to the wrong planning in the agrarian sector in the Soviet times and this wrong, or criminal to be exact, strategy is still used in Uzbekistan,” Aripov said.
According to him, Uzbekistan gets used to use water that belongs to other state under partition. “In order to lay the blame for ecological disaster, caused by a rush for profits, on Tajikistan, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during his trip to Karakalpakstan that the construction of the Roghun HPP would leave Uzbekistan facing water shortages for eight years until Roghun dam filled with water,” said Aripov, “Uzbek leader is not sure that international experts will allow themselves to be run by him and will state that the Roghun HPP, designed by Gidroproekt, one of world’s best schools of hydraulic engineering construction, is really dangerous.”
The expert notes that with the beginning of an active phase of Roghun’s construction Tajikistan will begin to use its water resource quota, that has not been used by Tajikistan fully so far. “Every year, Tajikistan used its quota 2-2.5 cubic kilometers less than its due,” said Aripov, “If this volume is used to fill the dam with water during eight years as Islam Karimov says, it will be 16-20 cubic kilometers, while the capacity of the Roghun reservoir is 13.3 cubic meters. We do not need quotas of other countries. Tajikistan plans to fill the Roghun dam with water not in eight but in some 10-15 years.”
“Indeed, Uzbekistan will not receive quotas of others that have been successfully used for irrigation,” said the expert, “Uzbekistan ought to learn to live within its resources.”
The International Commission on Large Dams, or ICOLD, is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the sharing of professional information and knowledge of the design, construction, maintenance, and impact of large dams. It was founded in 1928 and has its central office in Paris, France. It consists of 90 member national committees which have a total membership of about 10,000 individuals.
To fill Roghun dam with water Tajikistan will intake only fixed quota of water from Vakhsh River, says Tajik expert
November 2, 2010
Today, Uzbekistan’s fixed idea is to impede construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP) and it uses any means for this end, Mr. Georgy Koshlakov, the head of the economics and management sub-department at Russian-Tajik Slavic University (RTSU), said.
“As far as their concern over Roghun’s construction is concerned, they do not care about seismicity of an area or break of dam, because they realize that it is stuff and nonsense. They are worried that we will have an instrument that would allow cutting off the water,” said Koshlakov, “But the Roghun hydroelectricity project notes that the reservoir will be filled with water due to Tajikistan’s quota of water in the Vakhsh River.”
He reminded that that under convention that had been signed by all republics of the region long before the collapse of the Soviet Union the Vakhsh River flow had been distributed among them. “If my memory is not at fault, we have the quota of 9.5 cubic kilometers of the whole flow. When the project was being developed it was prescribed that we will fill the Roghun dam only due to our quota,” the expert noted.
He considers that Uzbekistan does not have reason today to say that Tajikistan does not fulfill its obligations. “Over the 30-year work of the Norak HPP there was no case when we refused Uzbekistan’s request for water,” said the expert, “In late 1980s, when Uzbekistan asked additional water, we opened escapages in addition to the service tunnel, flooded our cotton fields, but gave them water.”
“As far as I know, we today do not intake our quota of 9 billion cubic meters and Uzbekistan uses this,” said Koshlakov, “Now, when we construct the Roghun dam and fill it with water, they will not be able to use water in excess of their quota. But Tajikistan will intake only the fixed quota.”
Uzbekistan questions Tajik officials’ statement about terms of filing of Roghun dam with water
November 2, 2010, Payrav Chorshanbiyev
Recent statements by Tajik ministers of foreign affairs (Hamrokhon Zarifi) and reclamation and water resources (Rahmat Bobokalonov) about terms of the filling of the Roghun dam with water are not backed by serious and well-grounded arguments and aimed at misleading the Tajik population and international community, a statement by V. Ahmadjonov, the deputy head of the water resource balance and water-saving technologies department of the Uzbek Ministry of Water Economy, posted on the Uzbek MFA website, said.
According to him, the statement that the Roghun dam will be filled with water during seventeen years due to Tajikistan’s quota of water resources and this will not affect downstream countries is absolutely absurd. Upon construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant, the filling of the reservoir with water must be carried out during 7-8 years: initially to the rated dead zone and then to the rated heads and levels. “It means that there will be irreversible withdrawal from the Vakhsh River mainly during the vegetation period, because they will not withdraw water in June-August in order to provide operation of the Norak, Paypaza, Golovnaya and Sangtuda stations,” said Ahmadjonov, “If the dead zone is 1,220 meter, some 5 cubic kilometers of water will be needed to fill the dam to the dead zone.”
He stressed that specialists from the German company, Lahmeyer, that conducted feasibility study for the Roghun HPP I 2006 drew the same conclusion.
He also notes that Tajikistan is prone to a variety of risks for natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and mudflows that may affect safety of operation of dams and cascade power stations.
“Under this situation, instead of conducted correct and weighted assessments for socioeconomic and energy problems existing in Tajikistan, some high-ranking state officials of this country try to shift the blame to neighboring countries,” Ahmadjonov said.
We will recall that Tajik Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources Rahmat Bobokalonov told reporters in Dushanbe on October 21 that the Roghun dam will be filled with water due to Tajikistan’s quota of water resources and downstream countries will receive water according to their quotas. He assured that the downstream countries will not face water shortages during the filling of the Roghun dam with water. “All allegations by opponents of the Roghun hydroelectricity project that implementation of the project will leave major part of Uzbekistan’s population facing water shortages for eight years are absolutely baseless,” the minister stressed. Bobokalonov noted that Tajikistan was determined to complete the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP), which was of vital significance for development of the country’s economy.
As it had been reported earlier, during his trip to Karakalpakstan autonomous republic in early October, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said that if Tajikistan went to complete construction of the Roghun HPP as planned, it would leave Uzbekistan facing water shortages for eight years until Roghun dam filled with water. He promised not to let Tajikistan to reduce the amount of water flowing to Uzbekistan and the shrinking Aral Sea even by "one gram."