Experts warn of a decrease in groundwater levels in the border areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

21 October 2022

On November 2, UNESCO will host the third meeting on Groundwater Cooperation in the frame of Tashkent area Transboundary Aquifer (TBA).

Scientists and experts in the field of ground and surface water management from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, responsible for developing recommendations based on a mathematical model, as well as representatives of non-governmental and international organizations will participate in the meeting.

The participants of the event will discuss the results of "The Governance of Groundwater Resources in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA)" project, which was aimed at strengthening the joint management of the Tashkent area TBA.

To date, the project has completed a predictive analysis of the operation of the Tashkent area TBA, which revealed a significant decrease in the level of fossil groundwater and the depletion of surface reservoirs in the areas of groundwater intake.

The high rates of water consumption endanger the water quality of the Tashkent area TBA, as well as the availability of a unique source of artesian water and its preservation for future generations.

Experts warn that the rate of depletion requires urgent joint action and implementation of the recommendations made in the analysis.

For reference:

Tashkent areaaquifer represents the artesian basin, the structure of which includes several aquifers and complexes separating them by aquitards. Pretashkent aquifer is located on the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The smaller south-eastern part of the aquifer is located in the Tashkent province of Uzbekistan, and the bigger, the north-west part in the Chymkent province of Kazakhstan. The study area is highly populated, especially on the Uzbek part.[1]

Groundwater accounting for approximately 99% of all liquid freshwater on Earth and distributed over the entire globe, albeit unequally has the potential to provide societies with tremendous social, economic and environmental benefits, including climate change adaptation. Groundwater already provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population, and around 25% of all water withdrawn for irrigation, serving 38% of the worlds irrigated land. Yet, despite its enormous importance, this natural resource is often poorly understood, and consequently undervalued, mismanaged and even abused. In the context of growing water scarcity in many parts of the world, the vast potential of groundwater and the need to manage it carefully can no longer be overlooked.[2]

[1] https://www.un-igrac.org/news/kazakh-groundwater-professionals-trained-igrac

[2] https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000380726_rus

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