US fosters co-operation over shared water resources in Centra Asia


TASHKENT -- The United States organised a second joint meeting of the Uzbek and Kyrgyz Padshaota River Small Basin Councils Monday (April 22) to ensure fair distribution of water in Central Asia and to prevent border disputes and tensions, said the US embassy in Uzbekistan in a statement Tuesday (April 23).

Scarce water in arid Central Asia has been a long-time source of contention leading to periodic outbursts of cross-border violence.

The meeting in Namangan, Uzbekistan, took place with assistance from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and from the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC). They seek to boost co-operation on water between upstream and downstream countries in Central Asia.

The Padshaota, a small trans-boundary river situated in the Fergana Valley and shared by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, is one of the eight pilot sites where Smart Waters is promoting better shared water management.

"Effective trans-boundary water resource management and co-operation are closely related to socioeconomic development and stability in Central Asia," the USAID country director for Uzbekistan, Gary Robbins, said at the meeting, according to the US embassy. "Today's meeting is a positive step forward in the joint management of shared water resources between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan."

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan has reached agreement with neighbouring states on irrigation water quotas for 2019 through the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river basins, the Tashkent Times reported Tuesday, citing the Uzbek Ministry of Water Management.

Participants at the 76th meeting of the Interstate Commission for Water Co-ordination (ICWC) in Tashkent April 19 approved irrigation intake quotas and the operation mode of reservoir cascades.

Officials from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan considered developing an action programme to aid the Aral Sea basin countries.

The ICWC, which was formed in February 1992, seeks to manage water resources and maintain the sustainability of natural processes in trans-boundary waters.

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