Amu Darya River Water Allocation Model

by Akmal Kh. Karimov and Daene C. McKinney


Water management has had an important role in the Aral Sea basin since ancient times. The very dry climate and variable river flow of the region have promoted the establishment of relations between members of society regarding water allocation, water use, and water diversion. Water users, communities and countries have participated in these arrangements. These relations have not been constant over time and they have been evolving along with developing new public interrelations.

The economic system of newly independent Uzbekistan is in the process of transferring to market conditions. Farmers in the agricultural sector are a good example of this. Under these conditions the tasks of developing water management strategies is very critical. The creation of new, independent states in this region where the rivers are united requires the development of interstate water management and allocation policies that are closely connected with legal, administrative, and economical policies.

Models of water allocation for the Amudarya or Syrdarya Rivers (whose runoff is formed in Kirgyzstan and Tadjikistan, and used in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakstan) can be very useful for the improvement of water management in the region. That is why the task of the USAID Environment Policy and Technology (EPT) Applied Demonstration Project "Amudarya River Water Allocation Model" is very important. The approach to creating the model was based on a comparative study of water management in Uzbekistan and the Western USA.

Western US states have a long history of water management under market economic conditions. Different kinds of water management have been developed there - from centralized state systems like California to local water management in Texas. Studying the history of water allocation development between the western states in the Colorado river basin and between the USA and Mexico in the Rio Grande basin can be very useful for the Aral Sea basin countries. The task of the authors in this study was not to evaluate the practice of the US water sector, but to define applicable measures and instruments that may be useful (taking account of special local situations - social, economic, technical, and legal) for the water sector in the Central Asian Republics.

Press HERE for full text in PDF format.