Central Asia is facing another wave of complication of the already complicated cross-border water distribution problem. Kirill Pavlov, an expert in agriculture, discusses the problem, based on a publication in podrobno.uz. The said publication reports that Talibs, the present rulers of Afghanistan are about to launch the construction of the Koshtep giant water channel in the Balkh Province that borders on Turkmenistan.
By master-plan, the channel will irrigate 3 million Jeribs of land (1 Jerib equals 2,000 square kilometers) in the Balkh, Dzhauzdan and Faryab Provinces, providing jobs for some 250,000 individuals. Talibs believe that the channel will give an impulse for the development of the draught-driven regions of the country.
Is Aral Doomed?
Experts express opinion that the new channel will drastically deteriorate the water-distribution reality of Central Asia.
River Amu-Darya water loss may reach 15% in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and that shall be of direct detriment of the agriculture of the southern regions of Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile Talibs declare that are ready to build that channel “on basis of mutual understanding with Uzbekistan”, but it is not quite clear, whether that understanding is mutual.
Koshtep is not the only project of the new Afghan leadership. If those projects are brought to implementation, that will be the end of the Aral Sea.