Monday, December 13, 2021

Global Warming Increasing Water Shortages Even in Water-Surplus Tajikistan and Likelihood of Conflicts among Central Asian Countries

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 26 – Water problems in Central Asia are usually discussed in terms of the fundamental conflict between the so-called water “surplus” countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and the water “short” countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. But as a result of global warming, even the water surplus countries are running short.

            At a meeting of water management officials in Dushanbe this week, experts said as a result of the melting of glaciers and increased use of water for the economy, 60 percent of Tajiks don’t have enough water to maintain a safe way of life (

            But what this means more importantly is that Tajikistan is even less willing to increase downstream flows to the water short countries and that agreement on how water should be shared and what steps governments should take to increase demand is even further away than it was despite problems becoming larger.

            While almost everyone agrees that what is called “water ‘separatism’” in Central Asia in which each country decides for itself how to use the water available on its territory is dangerous and potentially explosive, there is no much less reason to think that any new agreement on sharing is possible or that it will be obeyed even if it is signed.


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