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18-11-2011, 13:08

Rogun: when, and stop the flow of misinformation? - Professor Talbak Salimov


Once again, the first pages of the media in Uzbekistan publish various arguments about the occurrence of water scarcity in Central Asia in order to run the Rogun hydropower in Tajikistan. Passions around Rogun and exchange of "courtesies" on this issue in the information space, not only Central Asia but also beyond its borders, has acquired such a magnitude that the question arises: when is stop the flow of misinformation?


I would like to ask a question to the many authors - when the pressure will be replaced by verbal accusations sober analysis of the facts and realities, which develop in water issues, water and hydropower in the basins of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya? Unfortunately, misinformation floats not only in different estimates of the mass media, political scientists, experts, but it clearly appears in the statements of high government of Uzbekistan.


The Uzbek side is not backed up by serious and well-founded arguments, intended to mislead its own and the international community. Active at the same time specifically states that the completion of Rogun, the process of filling its reservoir will leave the state, located in the zone of flow distribution, without water, almost eight to ten years. Also, the Uzbek authorities accuse Tajikistan of the fact that the construction of the dam with a height of Rogun 335 meters, they do not account for environmental and seismic risk, which defeated the Central Asian countries.


So there is the situation as it is presented with the Uzbek "friends" as sober calculation, objective, scientifically and logically substantiated such claims, and from high tribunes. Attempt to answer these questions without too much bias and political agenda, although it is clear that the problem of water in the region is no longer seen only in the economic and environmental plane.


It is not known by whom and by what methods it is estimated on the basis of what data the occurrence of the expected volume of water deficit in eight years, the period of filling the pool Rogun, for what purpose and with the hope to which to make such loud and baseless statements. Without excessive verbal rhetoric know one thing - such reasoning is clearly unfounded, if not to say adventure because they are sowing distrust, moreover, the panic and fear among the population of the lower reaches.


If you listen grief specialists is issued, that Rogun reservoir swallows not only the waters of the river Vakhsh, and the Amudarya and Syrdarya in full within eight years to return. The authors either do not know where, how and how much water is formed and used in the region, or ignore it, where, how and how much water is not irrevocably in favor of irrigation and the environment is lost.


Central Asia has about 170-180 km 3 of surface water resources, of which today is used more than 90%. Water resources between countries in the region are divided evenly. More than 90% of the sources of surface water resources in Central Asia are concentrated in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Meanwhile, the main consumers of water in the region are the downstream countries, and in Uzbekistan accounts for more than half the water consumed.


To determine whether the above statements are baseless enough to pay attention to how much water is formed in the region, is used irretrievably lost and useless. Region's water resources consist of surface water annually renewable, groundwater reserves, resources, and the return of drainage water. The volume of surface water resources in the Aral Sea basin, according to long-term data, is 116 km3.


On the hydrogeological evaluation, the total annual volume of groundwater resources in the Aral Sea is about 43.5 km3, of which 25 km3 are the Amu Darya basin and 18 km 3 - to the Syr Darya basin. Approved reserves the region for use are equal to about 17 km 3, the actual selection of which Uzbekistan (7.75 km3) is fully in other countries, 30-40%.

Each year, the volume of drainage water generated in the basin of the Aral Sea, is about 40 km 3 and about 17 km 3 of them play in the desert depressions, forming a new reservoirs.


Thus, the region is formed in the amount of 167 km3, of which only 3 km 3 goes to the Aral Sea. And the rest of 164 km3 or 90% of about 148 km3 goes to agriculture in the region, specifically for irrigation. And this is more than 18.3 km3 or 2-2.5 times higher than the rate of irrigation of cultivated crops.


If you correctly understand the authors' provocative statements, then 8 years in Rogun reservoir will contain from 167 km3, and after 8 years of 1336 km3 of water. This volume of 250 km3 more than the Aral Sea in 1960, which covers an area of 68 hectares. It is not known how the authors could imagine such a thing, but this area in the zone of Rogun absent.


Moreover, as for energy and for the agricultural sector itself Tajikistan need water. As can be seen, not only Tajikistan has no such opportunities, but also a necessity. Of the total intake of about 4 in Tajikistan dropped back into the river (we assume for use in Uzbekistan over its limit), but not forever in the desert depressions.


At the same time we must not forget to restore agricultural production in Afghanistan, which would increase the diversion of water from the Panj River - the largest inflow of the Amu Darya. The total area of irrigated land in this part of the country more than 1.5 million hectares. In the past, about 500 thousand hectares of land were irrigated, but much of this land was abandoned due to the prolonged civil war.


About 8% (11.6 km3) Amudarya flow is from Afghanistan, and Afghanistan have the right to take up to 9 km 3 of the Panj River in accordance with the agreement signed with the Soviet Union in 1946. At present, Afghanistan takes only about 2 km3 for irrigation systems in the Afghan side of the Amu Darya basin. However, further development of the country you can imagine what it would take up to 10 km3. So, as you can see another 8 km 3 of water, a temporary gift to us all a friendly Afghanistan, is given to Uzbekistan. And it's a total of 12 km3 of water. And if 17 km3 of water is not thrown into the desert depressions, used wisely, can be much more hectares of irrigated without any very large costs.


We can say that the problem of water shortage in Central Asia, far-fetched, for the sake of political ambition exaggerated, it appeared from an excess rather than shortage of water resources. Therefore, uncontrolled expanded irrigated area in the presence of outdated irrigation systems and put into practice growing water-loving crops, increased the number and amount of new water reservoirs.


Please note that by 2010 the total irrigated area doubled, reaching more than 8 million hectares, while the volume of water intake increased from 63 to 117 km3 per year. As a result, the water flow into the Aral Sea dramatically reduced to 9-12 km3 per year, sometimes less. The volume of drainage water is about 40 km3, and more than 17km3 play in desert depressions. From 8.11 million 5.74 million irrigated lands have varying degrees of salinity, including 21% in the Syr Darya Basin and 80% in the Amu Darya basin. The efficiency of the irrigation zones of the majority of 34-40%. There are new reservoir, whose volume is 1.5 times the current level of the Aral Sea.


Studies show that on average, the Aral Sea basin seepage losses from the main channels reach nearly 1,600 m3/ga/god, and from farm canals - 2900 m3/ga/god that the total volume of the entire basin are, respectively, 13 km3 and 23 km3 per year. Infiltration losses in the fields reach the 3300 m3/ga/god or 26 km3 per year.


At the same time in Israel on 1 hectare of irrigated land is consumed 5690 m3 of water, and collect up to 50 Hz. Cotton in Central Asia - spend 12 887 m3 of water and collect a little more than 20 quintals. on the same crop, we spend five (!) times more water than in Israel. Water-saving technology is not cheap, but there is no alternative.


Relatively Rogun should be emphasized that the volume of the reservoir will be about 13 km 3, the height of the dam 335 m. These parameters are in accordance with the recommendations of the World Bank disclosed. When commissioning the facility will produce 13 billion kV.ch. cheap and clean electricity annually. Starting Rogun in Tajikistan, along with the fact that provide reliable irrigation for more than 3 million hectares of land in the Amu Darya basin dry and drought years, yet would reduce emissions of hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


It is worth mentioning that Rogun (and Nurek) was designed at the suggestion of the Uzbek SSR to produce cheap electricity, improved water supply and development of new land in this country. Of the objects designed by specialists design institutes of Uzbekistan, who are still working there. Built projects developed on the basis of the projects they still operate in Uzbekistan, have the quality standards of the country.


So, Uzbekistan itself to meet the needs of their own was the initiator and developer of the construction of Rogun in the then Soviet Tajikistan. Consequently, for himself, he never designed to be a threat hydro, moreover spoke out against the start of construction of the object on the so-called seismically dangerous zone in the 80 years of the last century. Uzbekistan should be proud of the fact that the idea of Rogun belongs to him, carried his choice of specialists, all drawings are substantiated by scientists of the republic. In turn, Tajikistan, to be sure that the new HPS with corresponding structures are designed with a safe and reliable will be built without endangering themselves and others in the region.


A set of water will be at least 15 years of 0.8 km3 per year from the volume of quota, which is allocated to Tajikistan. As can be seen, the annual volume of water to fill the reservoir is only 0.54% of regional capacity (148 km3) of water resources for agricultural purposes. If we consider that every year, depending on the availability of hydrological year natural flow 10.5 km3 may vary, and sometimes more, we can assume that the volume of water to fill the reservoir will remain totally imperceptible as it turned intangible Nurek reservoir filling.


In such a situation is obliged to endure so much whether Tajikistan reproach in his address to receive water within its quota of 0.54% of total regional capacity (148 km3) of water for agricultural use? Remains to be seen what will the individual countries of the region, if tomorrow starts Afghanistan to pull their 8 km3 of water, which belongs to him according to international conventions and agreements. And it's solid and sensitive volume. Whether we like it or not, but for this we must prepare.


Main economic activity in the Central Asian region is irrigated agriculture. At the beginning of last century, each person had 0.6 hectares of irrigated land, and now only 0.17 hectares. For a normal life, according to UN estimates, should be 0.3 hectares. The same indicator for Uzbekistan is 0.17 hectares, and Tajikistan - 0.08 hectares. With increasing population growth, these numbers down, dealing a blow to the consumer basket of the population. From this perspective, the development of new irrigated land to ensure food security in the region is very important.


Future plans include development of new lands. The relatively small increase in the area (450-500 ha) is expected in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. However, in countries with the largest area of irrigated land - Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, it is expected that by 2025 the irrigated area increased by 6 million hectares. A water resources in the 2 major rivers - the Syr Darya and Amu Darya - is not enough.


Another hope is to increase water availability in the region was and remains the diversion of waters of Siberian rivers to Central Asia. It is planned that from the Ob river will take about 27 km3 per year. In the future, the volume of water transfer is planned to increase to 37 km3 of water per year. To do this, from the water intake station will dig a channel length of 2550 km and a depth of 16 meters and a width of 200 meters from the Syr Darya, Amu Darya River and then up. Channel Capacity - 1150 m3 / s of water. On the route will need to install 8.5 channel pumping stations with capacity 2.7 million kW and annual consumption of electricity of 10.2 billion kilowatt-hours This will raise the water of the river Ob to 110 m and pump them to the south.


It's in the future if the project will be implemented. Now the ability to implement it - a lot of questions, puzzles and problems. And to feed the population should be today. This means that new land development should be focused on existing water resources, disposable in the region.


Even the estimated volume of water in the Siberian 37 km3, and if go to Central Asia, then in the current culture of water (18.5 cu m / ha), it will suffice only for irrigation, only 2 million hectares.


The above figures indicate that in the development of new irrigated land is important to harmonize the position of the region, the need for internal resources at the expense of the allocated funds, and their as indicated more than enough. Selfish approach to this issue, as do the lower reaches of the individual republics, is fraught with confrontation threatens the peaceful coexistence of different peoples under a single Central Asian bubble.


Dear readers should be clear that 60% of rivers in the region are formed in Tajikistan, 95% of the electricity produced in the Republic of hydropower projects. Power lines for electricity exports to neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan are under construction. To fill the reservoir Rogun will take years, even though 8, 10 or 20 years. But this is not true. It is important that Tajikistan will not do selfish monopoly, as is done in the rail freight transit through the territory of Uzbekistan. Tajikistan ensures the flow of water to neighboring countries through the lower reaches of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya in its entirety, taking into account the current level. The new system is really dam will significantly improve water management, will benefit the whole of Central Asia. Tajikistan will never restrict water flow downstream neighbors.


Rogun is a source of cheap and clean energy, which provided start-up will satisfy the needs, both Tajikistan and the region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. Another, more advantageous, cost-efficient and effective project for the development of Central Asia, which is in dire need of electricity, is not there. This major hydropower facility is able to provide strategic management of water, to remove the existing inequitable distribution of harmful practices and use the huge resources of the region without the submission of environmental and man-made threats to downstream countries.


With regard to seismic risks that may threaten the High Dam, it will be recalled that in the same area about 40 years, operates Nurek Dam with a height of 300 meters, which suffered no one dozen earthquakes.


In resolution 1803 (XVII) General Assemble UN "Permanent sovereignty over natural resources" is emphasized: "The right of peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources must be exercised in the interests of their national development and welfare of the States."


The sovereign Republic of Tajikistan, guided by the above and other documents of an international nature, has the right to use their own natural wealth and resources to achieve sustainable development of its economy today and the needs of future generations.


The measures for the construction of water-power projects are primarily aimed at balancing the water and energy issues and mobilize their own resources to achieve the stability of the entire Central Asian region. Our country follows the basic principles of international law and faithful to the prisoners and ratify bilateral and multilateral agreements on water.


Tajikistan believes that security in the region, sustainable economic development, eliminating the difficulties of transition and in general the political and economic independence of Central Asian countries are possible only through effective and efficient regional cooperation, trust and mutual benefit.


Doctor of technical sciences Talbak Salimov