U.S. Water News Online
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — Some Central Asian countries could be hit by severe water shortages this year because power-starved Tajikistan has been draining its reservoirs to generate electricity, the country's foreign minister said.
To compensate for a shortfall caused by the suspension of electricity from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan is taking unusually high volumes of water from its main reservoirs to generate hydropower, minister Hamrokhon Zarifi said.
The reservoir supplies Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with irrigation water over the dry summer months.
Countries in the region are prone to seasonal droughts and struggled to coordinate water and energy resources since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
In October, energy-rich Turkmenistan pledged to supply Tajikistan with 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity via Uzbekistan annually until 2012. But that arrangement broke down earlier this month when Tajikistan failed to agree on a transit deal with Uzbekistan.
The Tajik government is imposing severe power cuts across the country due to crippling shortages.
Click here to subscribe to e-Water News Weekly!