"Shrinking glaciers could diminish hydropower ambitions"

Source: Central Asian Dialogue on Water and Climate / http://dialogue.icwc-aral.uz/  

 

As it is known, global climatic change is expected to impact on sustainable perspective development of the Aral Sea basin.

This impact is mainly directed to the volume of available water resources in the region.

Total water resources of the Aral Sea basin are 130-135 km3. Nearly 10 km3 of them are lost. Water intake accounts for about 90 % of general available water resources. After the average temperature has risen by 1 C over the last 35 years and the volume of glaciers has reduced by 22 % for the same time, it is predicted by various scenarios that by 2020 water resources scarcity would have been rise as a result of evaporation increase and water resources decrease by from 6 to 20 km3 every year (or by 5-15 % of total volume).

The estimates of the Aral Sea basin climate change impact significantly differ depending on methods, approaches and so on. Most of them are aimed to determine available water resources reduction.

In this situation it is important to show the means of demand shortening that can lead to reduction of pressure on water resources in the basin. Since agriculture is the biggest water consumer (about 85 %), it is important to evaluate irrigation demands for water taking into account temperature regime, arid climate, cropping structure, management at farm level and others to determine the means of water demands shortening.

Such assessment has two main aspects:

Tactical aspect at farm level the issues of water saving, cropping structure change and others are considered;

Strategic aspect at national and oblast level it is intended for issues of interstate cooperation, rational water use and allocation determination, including food basket regulation.

The thematic scope and the main problems of the dialog are as follow:
  • Water and food security ensuring
  • Potential conflicts
  • Water and environment
  • Water quality and human health
  • Climatic changes impact
  • Communications improvement
  • Water for socio-economic development
  • Ecological disaster
The main directions of the actions:
  • Demonstrating at farm level the means of water consumption shortening and water productivity increase, based on study of the results of many regional projects (WUFMAS, A-2 GEF, IWRM-Fergana, etc.).
  • Demonstrating at the national level the means of general water demands reduction and of sustainable development ensuring in the region on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation in water resources management, cooperative system formation in agricultural production.
For demonstration it is planned to use Aral Sea Basin Management Model (ASB-MM), created by the specialists of SIC ICWC and Resource Analysis (Netherlands) under the financial support of UNDP. This model unites socio-economic and hydrological models that will help to analyze both socio-economic situation and water resources management.