What is the situation in water sector of Kazakhstan today in an interview with the newspaper “liter”, said the Minister of ecology, Geology and natural resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev.
High losses during transportation
– Magzum Maratovich, let’s start with the statistics to understand the scope of water management. So, how the volume of water resources Kazakhstan possesses?
I have to say that the average amount of surface water resources of Kazakhstan amounts to almost 101 km3. Of this amount, 54% of water is formed within the country and 46% comes from neighboring countries.
Distributed water resources on the territory of the country unevenly. More affluent water are considered the Eastern and South-Eastern regions. Scarce are the Central and Western regions.
But we must understand that the main objective of the water management complex of the country consists not only in providing quality water to the population and all sectors of the economy, creation of favorable conditions for their functioning, but also in preserving and improving the environment.
In this regard, of 101 km3 of surface water resources of approximately 65 km3 is needed to preserve ecosystems and generally maintain the stability of the environment. Accordingly, we have surface water resources are about 36 km3. It’s not so much, notice. Therefore, in the modern world, when the water becomes not just a necessity but also a valuable resource of the state, it is important for us to appreciate their resources, applying water-saving technologies, including irrigation of fields, improving the quality of water treatment, introducing “green” technologies on industrial plants discharging waste water.
– What can you say to irrational use of Kazakhstani citizens and enterprises of fresh water?
– In the whole country the total annual water use in all sectors of the economy is approximately 24 km3, with 85% due to surface water. The main share of water use is in agriculture – more than 65% of total water consumption in the country. While agriculture losses reach 50%.
Here the main problem is the high water losses during transportation because of the critical wear and tear of canals and irrigation systems. Accordingly, to improve the situation requires repair of the channels and implementation of automated control of water resources.
Therefore, we are faced with the task of maintaining water balance at the level of 100 km3 due to the increase of additional surface water resources by 2030, the construction of new irrigation systems to increase irrigated land from 1.4 to 3.0 million hectares, modernization and reconstruction of water infrastructure, construction of new reservoirs, the digitalization of the water industry and water conservation.
I would like to note that Kazakhstan’s people need to protect our water resources. Just imagine of all the water resources of the planet Earth only 3% is fresh water, of which technically available for use – only 0.3 %. Therefore, it is important to change the consumer attitude to water with more care and conscious. This means that we should spend it only as directed, rationally.
Wastewater – the trouble with rivers
– In Kazakhstan the situation with water pollution in rivers?
– Water pollution – this is one of the most painful moments. We regularly conduct state monitoring of surface water quality by 60 indicators. Just last year, was recorded 661 the case of high contamination, and 19 cases of extremely high contamination in 61 water body in the rivers of the country. Today is the most polluted river Ilek in Aktobe oblast, Kara-Kengir, Karaganda region, Tobol in Kostanay region, Zhaiyk in West Kazakhstan and Atyrau regions, Nura, Syrdarya, tributaries of the river Ertis in Kazakhstan, Shu, Yesil, river Sarybulak and Akbulak in the city Nur-Sultan.
In General, these rivers are polluted with such substances as ammonium, sulphates, chlorides, phosphates, phenols, fluorides, heavy metals, there is increased turbidity.
The pollution of rivers occurs in connection with reduction of runoff, fugitive reset nedookislennye wastewater and historical, orphan slurry (waste from mining works – approx. ed.) savings in human settlements.
For example, the tributaries of the Shu river is polluted due to sewage cross-border territories.
Pollution of the river Ilek due to historical discharges to groundwater waste chrome local businesses – is “Aktobe plant of chromium compounds”, “Kazchrome”.
Monitoring of water quality of the river Zhaiyk (Ural) is in the territory of West Kazakhstan and Atyrau regions, by 13 points, 52 quality indicators. Water quality is deteriorating due to increasing salinity. Perhaps this situation stems from the reduction of runoff in recent years. During the year, recorded the excess of standards for sulfates, total iron, nitrite nitrogen, phenols, chromium hexavalent. Perhaps this situation stems from the reduction of runoff in recent years.
Over the last three years there is a decrease in discharges of harmful substances by 11% – from 1 104 to 984 thousand tons per year. With more than 70% of the pollutants generated on the territory of Karaganda, Almaty and Kostanay regions.
– When Kazakhstan industrial enterprises will begin to implement “green” technologies to reduce wastewater discharges?
– Here’s to “green” technologies to reduce wastewater discharge include the introduction of recycling water supply at industrial enterprises, re-use relatively clean water, clean-up and reuse of contaminated wastewater at the enterprises.
Taking into account the diversity of production processes as secondary water for them requires very different and, therefore, in each case for wastewater treatment are applied different purification technology.
Of course, many industrial enterprises have introduced modern technology for refining and reducing the volume of waste water.
But with 2025 in the framework of transition to the principles of best available techniques (BAT) as the main tool to prevent and control pollution, industry, designed to provide a high level of environmental protection and the protection of human health, the company will be interested to introduce technologies that reduce emissions into environment, consumption of raw materials, water, energy and reduce waste wastewater treatment in the production process.
– Repeatedly raised the issue of pollution of transboundary rivers. Recently reported that, for example, the relevant services periodically fix cases of pollution by neighbors of the Syrdarya river. What is being done by the Ministry in this direction?
– As you know, the Syrdarya river has a serious environmental impact on the region as a whole. In addition, the river water is used for drinking water, so it is important the water quality of this river.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agreed on a quarterly basis carry out monitoring and information exchange on water quality of the Syr Darya along the entire length of the border before flowing into the Aral sea. Today it is estimated as 3-4 grade quality, which is water suitable for irrigation.
The excess of water pollution in the river from the established norm are systematically recorded in sulphates (4-6 times), nitrite nitrogen (2-4 times), copper (1-5 times), magnesium (1,1-1,5 times), phenols (2-4 times), oil products (1.1 to 3.5 times). This increase in mineralization of Syrdarya river originates in the territory of Kazakhstan due to the load of collector-drainage waters irrigated areas.
In case of detecting high pollution of surface waters in the border area of RSE “Kazhydromet” immediately notify our neighbors. At the same time, our Ministry pays special attention to monitoring and controlling the quality of use waters of Syr-Darya on the territory of the country.
Kazakhstan on water issues is also cooperating with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, on the Caspian sea – with four Caspian littoral States. In this case the basis for joint decision-making are the results of the monitoring, i.e. the original data about water quality.
Joint water use
Earlier in his speech on the problems of water supply in the country, you said that the main reason for the deficit is the possible reduction of water inflow from neighboring States. How are these issues resolved?
– I must say that overall all of our water relations with neighbouring States in the field of use, protection and allocation of transboundary rivers are governed by the applicable agreements. Implementation of provisions of agreements with the neighbouring States within the framework of the intergovernmental Joint commissions. Unfortunately, it must be admitted, not always all interstate channels complied with the agreed schedule of water supply, which affects the water availability of irrigated lands.
It should be noted that with all States, except for China, Kazakhstan is defined as the share of water resources of transboundary rivers. Concerning the development of the draft Agreement on water allocation of transboundary rivers between Kazakhstan and China, I note that the work in this direction continues.
However, with China jointly implemented the project of construction of hydroelectric complex Dostyk on the river Khorgos, which enables the use of water resources of the river in equal proportions. Distribution of the reconstructed building on the river Sumbe, which is operated jointly by the water management organizations of our countries.
In total, considering the benefits from water management facilities are located in the basins of transboundary rivers on the territory of neighboring States, Kazakhstan is interested in joint operation of such facilities.
– What today a situation on the water with our neighbors – Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan?
– This year in connection with the low water level in the basins of transboundary rivers of southern Kazakhstan there is a difficult water situation. In early June, with rising demand for irrigation water, we are faced with certain problems in terms of supply of irrigation water to irrigated lands, “suspended” for the channels through which water flows from the territory of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Subsequently, these problems have been solved through negotiations with water authorities in neighboring countries. Given the hydrological situation was agreed upon the modes of operations of the reservoirs and the approved schedules of water flow through the channels of interstate use.
I’m afraid to jinx it, but in General the vegetation period goes well, the main demand for irrigation water for our agricultural producers is satisfied.
I note that last week I was in Tashkent, where he held a meeting with Minister of water economy of Uzbekistan. At the meeting, the sides discussed several water issues between the two countries and signed a roadmap for cooperation in the field of water relations.
So, one of the directions of the roadmap is the adoption of joint measures to ensure the necessary volume of irrigation water to agricultural producers in the growing season.
While the Uzbek side has ensured that will ensure the water pass through the territory of the upstream countries.
New reservoirs to be!
– In the framework of his visit, you also said about the construction and large-scale repair of irrigation canals in the Turkestan region. How it will solve the question of water supply in southern Kazakhstan?
– Jointly with the world Bank in the southern region of the country is currently implementing the international project PUID-2. It involves the reconstruction and rehabilitation of irrigation-drainage systems on irrigated area in more than 105 thousand hectares, including in the Turkestan region on the area of more than 62 thousand hectares. the Project is scheduled for completion next year. As a result of its implementation is expected to reduce annual losses of irrigation water in the amount of up to 200 million cubic meters/year, increase of efficiency of irrigation canals with 0.50-0.55 to 0.80-0.85, which will positively affect vodoobespecheniya and productive yield from irrigated land farms.
In addition, the President instructed to increase the irrigated area to 3 million hectares from the current 1.5 million hectares. In General, the response to this request, the Ministry provides for the rehabilitation of irrigation systems on an area of 610 thousand hectares and construction of new infrastructure in the area of 1 million hectares.
In the first phase to rebuild the infrastructure of irrigated land 128,0 thousand hectares of attracted funds from international financial organizations Islamic development Bank and the European Bank for reconstruction and development.
Together with the EBRD, a project to restore the water supply and the amelioration of land with an area of 92.7 thousand hectares, including Turkestan, Zhambyl and Aktobe regions.
Together with IDB, is implementing a project on rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage Almaty and Turkestan regions, aimed at improving the reclamation state of lands of the Turkestan region and rehabilitation of irrigation systems in Almaty region.
Already restored water infrastructure on the area of 66 thousand hectares in 5 regions of the country implement appropriate projects to improve and restore the water supply on the area of 492 thousand hectares of irrigated lands. In total over 3 years us will be reconstructed more than 6.7 thousand kilometers of canals, 4 reservoirs, 4 dam, 239 wells of vertical drainage.
As a whole will have 88 thousand jobs, including for the construction period – 11 thousands of jobs. I emphasise that the introduction of restored irrigated lands will contribute to the creation of 77 million jobs in the village. In turn, this creates a further multiplier effect in the areas of trade, processing of products of animal husbandry.
In addition, we have planned over the next 10 years, the construction of 38 new reservoirs in 8 regions of Kazakhstan. This will allow the accumulation of water with a total volume of 3.6 km3. And will be summed up 386 thousand ha of irrigated land. In addition, these reservoirs will be used to relieve flood threats.
– At the end of our conversation, Magzum Maratovich, the Day of workers of water economy in Kazakhstan began to celebrate recently – for the second year in a row. That is to say that in this way at the state level emphasized the importance of this sector?
Is no doubt about it. In the world today there are countries where water is worth its weight in gold. We have water resources there. From us you only want to keep them and preserve them.
In Kazakhstan, we will continue to pay great attention to the water sector, especially given its growing importance for the country. I would like to note that the sector of the water economy in the country develops. We regularly meet and discuss with colleagues the decision of different questions, taking the necessary steps. There is still a lot of problems. Including, as I said above, there are construction and reconstruction of irrigation canals, reservoirs.
Xwish with all my Ministry and myself, to congratulate with the professional holiday of workers of water economy of Kazakhstan! The peculiarity of this sector is that it employs the whole family dynasty, passing their knowledge and experience, and love for this profession from generation to generation. I’m grateful for the work of all our specialists, veterans of the water industry, I wish you good health, happiness and further success in your work!