Kazakhstan Improves Its Water Infrastructure

The government of Kazakhstan has approved the development of a water resources management system for 2024-2030. 

Speaking at a meeting on January 30th, the minister for water resources and irrigation, Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, said that his department plans to build 20 new and reconstruct 15 existing reservoirs, as well as modernize over 14,000km of irrigation canals and hydraulic structures.

Mr Nurzhigitov added that irrigation water losses during transportation should be reduced from the current 50% to 25%, which will make it possible to increase the area of irrigated land in the country to 2.5 million hectares by 2030.

To encourage farmers to use water-saving technologies, subsidies for creating irrigation systems and buying drip and sprinkler irrigation equipment will be increased from 50% to 80% of their costs respectively. 

Prime minister Alikhan Smailov, who chaired the meeting, emphasized the importance of the rational use of water. He pointed out that the Big Almaty Canal, for instance, had not been repaired in the 40 years of its existence. In the country’s Turkestan, Kyzylorda and Zhambyl regions most of the main and inter-farm canals are in a worn-out condition, with water losses reaching 40%.

Mr Smailov also pointed out that water-saving systems in the country are currently being introduced only slowly. Drip irrigation is currently used on as little as 84,000 hectares out of the planned 312,000. 

Kazakhstan, especially its dry southern and eastern regions, is largely dependent on irrigation water coming from its upstream neighbors, Kyrgyzstan and China. 


Times of Central Asia