Freshwater in Central Asia is unevenly distributed and has been severely impacted by historical agricultural production. Yet, agriculture is a way of life for large portions of the citizens of Central Asian countries.
The region of Karakalpakstan in northwestern Uzbekistan was once a thriving area supported by extensive irrigation within the Aral Sea basin. It now suffers from extensive droughts, upstream diversions from the Amu and Syr Darya rivers for irrigation, as well as severely impacted water quality.
In collaboration with Taraz Regional University in Kazakhstan, DWFI hosted a four-part webinar series titled “Groundwater Sustainability in Central Asia: Advancing institutional capacity in Karakalpakstan, a former Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan.” Key topics included:
- examining the potential for water and land reclamation
- exploring innovative models and tools for ground- and surface-water resources management
- reviewing water quality monitoring and reuse, uses for remote sensing in irrigated agriculture, and
- comparing water resources programs to help establish long-term scholar exchanges in this region
The American Councils for International Education Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN) funded the series and is part of DWFI’s ongoing relationship with its Kazakh partners in solving drought-related issues in the country.