Kazakhstan to Increase Use of Groundwater for Irrigation

Field Irrigation Kazakhstan, Photo: primeminister.kz

On 27th February, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced plans to increase the volume of groundwater used for agricultural irrigation by tapping into local reserves.

The country and especially its dry southern and eastern regions, has long been dependent on water from its upstream neighbors, Kyrgyzstan and China.
Kazakhstan’s groundwater reserves exceed 43,000 tons per day, 19,000 tons of which could effectively be used in irrigation.

Agriculture currently uses more than 40 thousand tons, equivalent to 60%, of water collected per day. Of this, groundwater makes up just 1.2%. Under the first stage, this is due to increase to 10-15%, initially from reserves in Almaty, Pavlodar, East Kazakhstan, and Zhambyl.

In 2023, of the 1.8 million hectares of irrigated land in Kazakhstan, water-saving technologies were employed on as little as 17% (312,000 hectares), with drip irrigation used on only 84,000 hectares.

As an added incentive to implement the expansion of areas of irrigated land through a greater use of groundwater and water-saving technologies, the state will introduce subsidies and reduced tariffs for users.

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Times of Central Asia