Water crisis. Berdymukhammedov calls for the cleaning of river beds and desalination of the Caspian Sea water for Ashgabat

On 8 June President Serdar Berdymukhammedov held a meeting with Annageldy Yazmyradov, a newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister overseeing agriculture, to discuss water supply systems of Turkmenistan, the state information agency TDH reports.

The Deputy Prime Minister reported that the measures to remedy shortcomings in water supply systems of Dashoguz region had been carried out. “Because of the stable water level in rivers of the velayat the water supply of farmland had improved”, – TDH says.

At the meeting held on 30 May Serdar Berdymukhammedov expressed discontent with the performance of the khyakim of Dashoguz velayat Nazarmyrat Nazarmyradov. The President pointed out that the pace of agricultural operations was low and expressed discontent with their organization. A few days prior to the meeting the President had paid a visit to Dashoguz velayat where he severely reprimanded Chairperson of the State Water Management Committee Guyzgeldi Baidzhanov for problems in water management. The region has been experiencing a shortage of irrigation water for three consecutive years. TDH reported that preparations for the construction of a large manmade water reservoir in the valley between the rivers of Shasenem and Turkmen were currently underway.

The President reported that on 11 June he would hold a Cabinet meeting and gave relevant instructions to Yazmyradov “taking into account a complicated water supply situation in the region”:

• to set up a government commission under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister and include executives of the Supreme Control Chamber, the State Water Management Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes and velayat khyakimlik’s office as its members;

• to inspect riverbeds, from the Amu Darya river to the Karakum river, and identify reasons preventing the water flow; to promptly draw up an action plan and implement it. Moreover, proposals related to the allocation of funds for the purchase of equipment, dredgers and water pumps as well as spare parts need to be put together (international organizations help to clean up water reservoirs. Also, residents of provinces are encouraged to carry out cleaning manually);

• apart from rivers, major river beds need to be inspected and an action plan to clean them and lay concrete needs to be drawn up and implemented;

• to review the possibility of launching the construction of desalination units and water supply networks from the Caspian Sea to Ashgabat.

Following the instruction of the head of state, the Deputy Prime Minister will be giving progress reports at each Cabinet session.

According to the news agency TASS, Turkmenistan has the most acute deficit of drinking and irrigation water in the world. According to the UN, the volume of water, used by Turkmenistan, accounts for 144% of its water reserves. The shortage of fresh water does not allow to use new plots of lands – farmland makes up only 11,5% of the country’s territory.

2021 was one of the driest years for Turkmenistan. In the summer of 2021 water supply was regularly cut off because of the severe drought and water was supplied in water trucks. Also, the drought resulted in the poor wheat harvest in Central Asian countries. However, this did not prevent the authorities of Turkmenistan from announcing that the wheat harvesting target had been achieved.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan