Central Asia’s nations are among the top ten countries in terms of annual water withdrawals
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FAO flagship report released on November 25 says improved water management, supported by effective governance and strong institutions – including secure water tenure and rights, underpinned by sound water accounting and auditing – will be essential to ensure global food security and nutrition, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2020) emphasized that achieving the internationally agreed SDG pledges, including the Zero Hunger target (SDG 2) “is still achievable,” but only by ensuring more productive and sustainable use of freshwater and rainwater in agriculture, which accounts for more than 70 percent of global water withdrawals.
The report notes that about 1.2 billion people – 44 percent of them in rural areas and the remainder in small urban centers in the countryside – live in places where severe water shortages and scarcity challenge agriculture. Around 40 percent of them live in Eastern and South-eastern Asia, and a slightly higher share in Southern Asia. Central Asia and Northern Africa and Western Asia are also severely affected – about one of every five people live in agricultural areas with very high water shortages and scarcity, compared to less than 4 percent in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern America and Oceania.
Central Asia reportedly stands out as facing recurring agricultural drought on more than half of its low-input rainfed cropland, and almost all of its irrigated areas are under high or very high water stress.
In Tajikistan, the 2011 drought severely affected irrigated agriculture, as water levels in the Nurek reservoir fell sharply, according to the report. As a result of low rainfall, production of wheat, barley and rice in irrigated areas fell by at least 75 percent compared with previous years. Irrigation systems relying on open water resources (rivers, lake and reservoirs) are also more vulnerable to drought, which reduces the quantity of surface water delivered.
According to international experts, Central Asia’s nations are among the top ten countries in terms of annual water withdrawals: Turkmenistan – 5 333 m3 per person; Kazakhstan – 2 345 m3; Uzbekistan – 2 295 m3; Kyrgyzstan – 1 989 m3; and Tajikistan – 1 895 m3.
For example, the average annual water withdrawal per person in Russia is 400 m3.
In Central Asia, the highest water consumption in comparison with own renewable water resources is reported in Uzbekistan – 115.7 percent. It is followed by Turkmenistan and Tajikistan – 99.59 percent and 74.84 percent respectively. In Kyrgyzstan, water consumption in comparison with own renewable water resources reportedly amounts to 42.37 percent and in Kazakhstan – 30.47 percent.
Source: Asia Plus