Water Problems in Central Asia
Yoshinobu Kitamura*, Osamu Kozan**, Kengo Sunada***, and Satoru Oishi***
*Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Koyama-cho Minami, Tottori 680-8553, Japan
**21st COE Program, University of Yamanashi, 4-3-11 Takeda, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-8511, Japan
***Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, 4-3-11 Takeda, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-8511, Japan
We review water-related issues in Central Asia’s Syr Darya and Amu Darya River basins as seen in changes in water management and climatic trends. We start by clarifying these problems in basins that are basically in an arid region where water circumstances as a source is unstable and water rights and use among riparian countries are highly discrepant. Results of the examinations on water management clarified 4 major issues: (1) problems affecting countries downstream, such as water shortages in summer and artificial flood damage in winter; (2) problem of irrigation water distribution in the Fergana Valley; (3) the salinization of farmland in middle and lower riparian reaches; and (4) deterioration in Aral Sea and neighboring ecosystems due to drastically lowered water levels. An analysis of the impact of climate change on local hydrological systems pointed up potential new indications: (5) trends in global warming triggering earlier snow melts and floods; and (6) trend in the warming prompting earlier vegetative activity. We conclude by recommending concrete measures for appropriate irrigation and better water management.