TASHKENT – The spotlight of the global water crisis is currently shining on the countries of Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan.
In “Water: A Time Bomb in Central Asia,” Aqua Doc emphasized that,
“Agricultural water use in Central Asian countries is of vital importance, especially for Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These countries employ inefficient irrigation methods. This is highly unlikely to change soon.”
The Diplomat published an article on September 5, 2019, reporting that a grave water crisis looms over Uzbekistan.
The country, one of the many “stans” that were parts of the form Soviet Socialist Republics, is among the top countries in the world for per capita water withdrawal. However, the country has minimal internal freshwater resources. With only 531.25 cubic meters available per capita, Uzbekistan ranks 152nd out of the 180 countries for internal renewable freshwater resources compiled by Index Mundi.
India, where water scarcity is a problem in several parts of the country, ranks 128th on the list with an estimated 1,117.59 cubic meters available per capita.
Israel, which does not have a water scarcity problem, ranks, 172nd on the list with only 91.29 cubic meters per capita.
The United States, which also does not have a water scarcity problem, ranks 55th with an estimated 8,845.96 cubic meters per capita.
Because Uzbekistan is double landlocked, it is water-dependent on neighboring countries, not all of which are particularly friendly.
Although some are drying up because of increased agricultural demand, India still has internally replenishable resources from its many natural river sources. Portions of India have been subject to long periods of drought, causing regional water stresses not realized in other parts of the country.
At first blush, it could be assumed that Israel, the country with the eight least amount of internal renewal freshwater resources, but this is not the case. The difference is that Israel established a replenishable water supply as a priority for survival. Despite increased demand for agricultural and human consumption, the country does not lack water. Investment in technology and water management techniques has proven to have been wise.
The United States has been blessed with an abundance of internally replenishable freshwater resources. Also, the industrialization of America included substantial investment in clean water delivery and sanitation throughout the country to undergird its growth and prosperity.
Water will become a time bomb in Uzbekistan unless its officials regard its management as a major priority. Instead of blaming (non-existent) climate change for their water problem, gaining an understanding of best water management practices, potential growth-initiated needs within the country, and investing in water production and replenishment technologies can stop the time bomb from ticking.
- The Diplomat, Uzbekistan’s Impending Water Crisis
- Index Mundi, Renewable internal freshwater resources per capita (cubic meters) – Country Ranking
- ResearchGate, Agricultural Water Use and Trade in Uzbekistan: Situation and Potential Impacts of Market Liberalization
- Aqua Doc, Water: A Time Bomb in Central Asia