The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Kazakhstan on December 22nd said it is beginning work on the construction of nine new reservoirs out of a planned twenty to reduce Kazakhstan’s dependence on the water flow from neighboring countries by 25%. The commissioning of new reservoirs will also increase the area of irrigated land by 250,000 hectares and reduce the threat of flooding in 70 rural settlements with a population of 137,000 people.
Currently, design documentation is being developed for the nine facilities, and negotiations are underway to attract investors to the construction of new reservoirs.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has developed a Comprehensive Water Development Plan for 2024-2030. The document includes measures for the construction and reconstruction of reservoirs, reconstruction of hydraulic structures and irrigation systems.
“The plan will be implemented in several stages,” said the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of Kazakhstan, Nurzhan Nurzhigitov. “In 2024-2026, it is planned to begin construction of twenty new reservoirs with a volume of 2.4 km³ in eleven regions. The implementation of the Comprehensive Plan will increase the volume of available water resources by 3.7 km³, expand the area of irrigated land to 2.2 million hectares, reduce annual losses of irrigation water by 3 km³, and also provide water supply to 41 settlements with a population of more than 55,000 people.”
Kazakhstan, especially its southern regions, is highly dependent on irrigation water flow from upstream Kyrgyzstan. This past summer, Kyrgyzstan experienced a shortage of irrigation water and was forced to reduce the water flow to Kazakhstan’s southern Zhambyl region, which negatively impacted the region’s agriculture.