Water in Central Asia: Past, Present, Future

Free Standard Shipping

Purchasing Options

ISBN 9780415459624
Cat# K00021



SAVE 20%

Other eBook Options:


  • Explores the deep roots of the historical transformations that have caused the present situation of environmental degradation
  • Provides a thorough analysis of the positive ambitions of the region and their possible negative consequences
  • Examines why important development initiatives of the recent past have produced negative consequences
  • Discusses lessons learned from the consequences of recent history and how they may be applied to other similarly vulnerable areas
  • Only book covering this subject with such a broad historical, social, political, and technological width
  • Many data used in this book originate from the Central Asia Regional Water Information Base (CAREWIB), an open database and web portal that provides information on water and environmental issues, regional socio-economic and political facts and figures on the area (http://www.cawater-info.net/index_e.htm)



Central Asia is the cluster of countries located in the basin of the "Great Aral Sea". It originates from the ancient civilizations of the IV-III millennium B.C. known as “Ariana” and is an important geopolitical centre today, where the USA, Russia, China, EU, Iran and India participate in the regional water game. The Aral Sea Basin has always been a subject of interest to outside powers as a target of travel or political blame. At the same time it was a source of prosperity and a place of work, love, history and strong cultural traditions for almost 100 million people. 

At present the Aral Sea Basin is shared by independent states with different interests but at the same time in need of close collaboration for their survival. Much has been written about this region but few writers have discovered the deeper roots of the historical transformations that have caused the present situation of environmental degradation. The extremely arid character of the region is a cause of very sensitive natural and social conditions; a very fragile balance that is easily disturbed by any important impact from the outside or innovations from the inside. Only a thorough analysis of both the positive ambitions of the region and their possible negative consequences can provide the necessary understanding of why important development initiatives of the recent past have always produced the negative consequences as they did.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Challenges and Problems
1.2 A Geographical Review

2. The Cost of Water is Life
2.1 A Revival of the Will
2.1.1 The Old Stone Age
2.1.2 The Keltiminar (Khorezm) Culture
2.1.3 The Bronze Age
2.1.4 The Iron Age
2.2 The Development of Flood Irrigation
2.3 Irrigation in Oases
2.4 Ancient Irrigation in Khorezm
2.5 Water is the Great Educator
2.5.1 Zoroastrianism
2.5.2 Islam
2.5.3 Dead Earth
2.6 Water is the Basis for Central Asian Economies
2.7 Irrigation in the Time of Timur and Timurids
2.8 Progress of Science and Historical Development of Irrigation in Central Asia
2.9 The Origin and Dynamics of the Aral Sea
References (Chapters 1 and 2)

3. Russian Colonization and the Soviet Era in Central Asia 
3.1 Water Management during Russian Colonization
3.2 Surveys, Research and Design in the Pre-Soviet Time
3.3 The Water Sector of Turkistan During the First Years of the Soviet Period
3.4 After Demarcation of the National Republics
3.5 The Water Sector of Central Asia - a New Uplift for Agricultural Development
3.6 Integrated Development of Deserts in the USSR - the Golodnaya Steppe and Other Lands
3.7 The Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in May 1966 and the Great Leap Forward
3.8 Climbing a Road that Goes Down

4. Water for Independent States 
4.1 The First Steps - New Expectations
4.2 Independence - A New Policy and Economy
4.2.1 Kazakhstan
4.2.2 Kyrgyzstan
4.2.3 Tajikistan
4.2.4 Turkmenistan
4.2.5 Uzbekistan
4.3 The Complicated Issue of Water Sharing in the Aral Sea Basin
4.4 Irrigation or Hydropower, or Irrigation and Hydropower?
4.5 Agreements are the Legal Basis for Future Sustainable Management
4.6 Capacity Building in the Water Community
4.6.1 Management Information Systems
4.6.2 Program for Training and Qualification
4.6.3 IWRM as the Leading Concept for Water Sector Development in Central Asia
4.6.4 Development of a Monitoring System as a Technical means for Improved Water Use
4.6.5 Evaluating Water Demands and Adjusting the Irrigation Schedule Based on Zoning of the Crop Water Requirement
4.6.6 Concluding Remarks

5. Water and the Future for Central Asia
5.1 Geopolitical Perspectives
5.2 Visions, Forecasts and Realities
5.2.1 Business as Usual (BAU)
5.2.2 Priority to Agriculture and Rural Development
5.2.3 Priority to Industrial Development 
5.3 Globalization and the Future of Central Asia
5.4 Basic Approaches to the Development of Scenarios and Models for Future Water Resource Development
5.4.1 Agricultural Sub-Scenario
5.4.2 Water Management Sub-Scenario
5.4.3 Environmental Sub-Scenario
5.5 The Future is Rosy ... and Not So Rosy
5.5.1 Climate Change Impacts
5.5.2 Business as Usual (Existing Trends are Maintained)
5.5.3 Scenario of National Preferences
5.5.4 Optimistic or Regional Interest Scenario
5.6 Lessons Learned

Author Bio(s)

The authors have a long experience in water management in Central Asia and have collaborated for years. They have used a wide range of historical, scientific and practical references and many actual data they have gathered as a result of their years of work.

Victor A. Dukhovny (Uzbekistan) has many years of experience with water in Central Asia and is one of the leading specialists in the development of complex water management and irrigation systems. He was involved with the rehabilitation program of the Hunger and the Karshi Steppe and of the Karakum Canal. At present, he leads the future water development policies plan for the region. Prof. Dukhovny is the director of the Scientific Information Centre of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination of Central Asia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Joop de Schutter (The Netherlands) has dealt with water development projects in the region and was involved with the integrated management schemes for the Amudarya and Syrdarya deltas as part of the regional Aral Sea Basin management model. He also led the implementation of the Sudoche Wetlands Restoration project. At present, he is the deputy director of the UNESCO-IHE International Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands.