Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Russia Must Divert Siberian River Water to Central Asia or Face a Crisis on Its Borders, Uzbek Scholar Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 9 – The melting of glaciers in the two water-surplus countries of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and growing demand for water by agricultural use and human consumption in them and the other three, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are such that conservation methods will never be sufficient, Ravshan Nazarov says.

            Indeed, the senior scholar at the Institute of State and Law of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences says, “the situation with regard to water resources in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia more generally is quite critical and with each year is becoming ever more so” (

            Because of climate change and demand, “water levels in the region are rapidly falling” on the two major rivers of the region, the Amudarya and the Syrdarya; and as a result, there is no alternative to the diversion of Siberian river waters from the Russian Federation to the countries of Central Asia.”

            If that is not done, Nazarov continues, no efforts by the countries themselves will help. “You can save what you have but it is simply impossible to save what is not there; and “the volumes of water are decreasing in the region every year.”  

“Either water from Siberia will come to Central Asia, or tomorrow or the day after, 100 million people will face a catastrophe.” And that disaster will not be limited to the region itself but affect countries located near and far, including the Russian Federation.  “What appeared in the 20th century to be a problem of the distant future has become a harsh reality now.”


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