Yuri Razgulaev: Idea of turning Siberian rivers remembered again

In the countries of Central Asia, they speak again about transferring some Siberian rivers to this region. The reason why this project was remembered again is that deficit of water resources in this region becomes more pointed. In spite of extraordinary measures taken by interested countries and international organizations, ecological situation in Aral Sea region grows worse. Specialists suppose too many myths and even falsifications have been accumulated around this project. While the situation looks in this way. Over recent ten years, any Central Asian republic except Turkmenistan did not brought in agriculture any additional irrigation furrow. Though the population still grows, especially in Uzbekistan. As a result, the square of irrigation lands falling on one person reduced to 0,17 hectare. If the tendency remains the same, by the year 2010 this square will make 0,15 hectare. While for normal self-supplying with food, there must be 0,3 hectare per head. There is opinion, water is being used irrationally in Central Asia, especially in its agriculture. The leaders of the republics admit wastes of water should be reduced while using water only for purpose. However, statistics testify: the region needs more water. The situation becomes worse every year. At first sight, Central Asia possesses big water resources. The whole volume makes 133 cubic kilometres, while 120 cubic kilometres make natural river run-off. Though this is not enough even to support Aral Sea on its minimal level. The main water reservoir of the region forming the weather in the biggest part of Euroasia, is on the verge of death. Therefore, the issue of water supply of Central Asia should alarm not only the young states of the region. If Aral Sea dries up completely, the climate will change not only in the Central Asian countries. Droughts and dust storms will reach even Siberia and Ural. Of course, the project is expensive. According to approximate calculations, it costs about 16 billion dollars. Even joint budgets of all countries of the region could not afford it to them. Though, there are other ways to finance such global projects. For example, creation of international stock companies. There are many countries interested in use of unique natural conditions of this region. For example, recently Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has visited Tashkent. In the negotiations with the republic’s leadership, the question was in particular about creation of “green bridge” between Uzbekistan and Russian capital. Though there was one condition: the production must be ecologically pure. This aim could be achieved with help of Siberian water. On the whole, Central Asian republic could supply Siberia, Ural, the Far East with their production, like it was in Soviet times. It could be a serious stimulus for Russia to take part in realizing this project. Anyway, many specialists suppose there is no reason again to decline the project without discussions, which has such a heavy and unjust fate.

Yuri Razgulaev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kirghizia

Original article in Russian: &to=http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/10/23/32999.html' target=_blank>http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/10/23/32999.html

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