Executive Committee of the International Fund
for saving the Aral Sea

Use of water resources

The use of water resources in Central Asia, mainly for drinking water and irrigation, began more than 6,000 years ago. Water resources began to be used intensively in the XX century, especially after the 60s, due to the rapid growth of the population, the development of industry and, mainly, irrigation.

The main reasons for the intake of large amounts of water from two major tributaries of the Aral Sea (Syr Darya and Amu Darya) were: a significant increase in the population living on the territory of the pool of the Aral Sea, the urbanization and intensive land development, the construction of major hydrotechnical and irrigation facilities on watercourses in the Aral Sea basin, as well as the rapid development of agriculture in Central Asia.

It is worth noting that in 1960 the total water intake in the Aral Sea basin was 60.61 km3, and by 1990 it had increased to 116.271 km3, or 1.8 times. During the same period, the population in this territory increased by 2.7 times, irrigation areas increased by 1.7 times, agricultural products – by 3 times.

Currently, water resources in Central Asian countries are used for agriculture (88.7%), utilities (4.7 %) and industry (6.6%). (FAO, Aquastat, 2012).