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Area of ​​irrigated land to be increased to 3 million hectares by 2030 in Kazakhstan — Brekeshev

Tuesday, 05 October 2021, 11:16:35

At the government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Serikkali Brekeshev reported on the progress in the construction and reconstruction of canals and reservoirs.

“The volume of water resources in Kazakhstan is 90-100 km3, of which 50.8 km3 — local runoff, 39.2 km3 come via transboundary rivers from China, Central Asian countries and Russia. Groundwater reserves are 15.5 km3 / year, explored in the territories of more than 3.5 thousand fields," Brekeshev briefly informed about how the flow of the rivers of the country is formed.

According to him, in 2020 the water intake in the republic amounted to 24.9 cubic meters. km, of which for the needs of agriculture — 15 km3 of water. Inefficient use of water is 3 km3.

According to the instructions of the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, by 2030 Kazakhstan needs to bring the area of ​​irrigated land to 3 million hectares.

“Irrigated agriculture is the main water consumer. Today, the area of ​​irrigated land is 1.6 million hectares. Within 5 years, work will continue to restore 600 thousand hectares of irrigated land. Thus, the area of ​​irrigated land will be increased to 2.2 million hectares. Further, from 2025 to 2030, 800 thousand hectares of new irrigated land will be put into circulation,” said the minister.

In addition, Serikkali Brekeshev reported on the current state of irrigated agriculture.

So, out of the entire water intake, regular irrigation accounts for 12.1 cubic meters. km, of which 11.8 km3 — into 4 southern regions: Almaty, Zhambyl, Turkistan and Kyzylorda with an irrigated area of ​​1.25 million hectares, i.e. this is 97% of the total water withdrawal for irrigation and 78% of the total irrigated area in the country. At the same time, as of Jan. 1, 2021, the area covered by water-saving technologies in the republic amounted to 248 thousand hectares. Of these, in the southern region, out of 1.25 million hectares, only 5.4% of the total irrigated area, or 67.7 thousand hectares, was introduced.

By 2025, according to the National Project for the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex, it is planned to bring the areas covered by water-saving technologies to 450 thousand hectares. This will lead to annual water savings of 1.5 km3.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Ecology proposes, together with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan and akimats, to develop and approve Roadmaps for the introduction of water-saving technologies in all areas with the definition of areas. To ensure the restoration of 600 thousand hectares of irrigated land, we are working on the reconstruction of canals and the construction of reservoirs,” added the minister.

So, speaking about the reconstruction of canals, Brekeshev noted that at the moment in the irrigation system there are about 3.5 thousand main and inter-farm canals with a length of 21.5 thousand km, of which 55% are in an unsatisfactory condition. This is the main reason for the high losses in the transportation of water to end users. Until 2025, it is planned to stage-by-stage reconstruction and restoration of 120 irrigation canals in seven regions with a length of 2.3 thousand km. This will increase the irrigated area to 2.2 million hectares and reduce irrigation water losses by 800 million cubic meters. m annually.

In terms of regions, most of the canals requiring reconstruction are located in the southern regions of the country. According to preliminary calculations, the total cost of the complete reconstruction is 205 billion tenge, incl. 6.8 billion tenge for the development of design estimates. It is also planned to attract extra-budgetary funds in the amount of 34 billion tenge through PPP.

Then the Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources moved on to the issue of reconstruction of emergency reservoirs and construction of new reservoirs.

“Currently, 41 emergency reservoirs and hydraulic structures are being reconstructed. Over the past 5 years, 15 projects have been commissioned. 7 are planned to be commissioned by the end of 2022 and the remaining 19 by the end of 2025,” Brekeshev said.

Within the framework of the national project Zhasyl Kazakhstan, the republican budget supported 20 billion tenge out of 30 billion tenge. To complete the reconstruction of emergency facilities, additional funds in the amount of 10 billion tenge are required. The implementation of these projects will lead to the accumulation of water up to 1.2 km3 and will additionally reduce the flood threat for 40 settlements with a total population of 300 thousand people.

For the next 5 years, it is planned to build 9 new reservoirs for storing water in the amount of 1.7 km3. This will reduce the threat of flood events for 14 settlements, put into circulation 195.3 thousand hectares of new irrigated land, create more than 20 thousand jobs in agriculture.

According to preliminary calculations, the total cost of the construction of 9 reservoirs is 59.4 billion tenge, of which 11.3 billion tenge was supported in the republican budget for 2022-2024. To complete the development of design and estimate documentation, additional funds in the amount of 700 million tenge are required, as well as for the implementation of construction and installation work until 2025 — 47.4 billion tenge. As a result, the implementation of these projects will lead to a decrease in water dependence on neighboring countries: up to 30% from Kyrgyzstan, up to 25% from Uzbekistan and up to 15% from Russia.

Construction and installation work on the Kensai-Koskorgan-2 reservoir in the Turkistan region has been practically completed, and a feasibility study has been completed for 5 reservoirs. These are Rgayty, Akmola, Kalguty, Bolshoy Uzen, Pokatilov. Design and estimate documentation is being developed for the Karauzyak and Buzuluk reservoirs.

Currently, the issue of introducing digitalization is becoming relevant in order to save water resources during transportation and distribution.

Based on the results of the analysis, a five-year Plan for the automation of the irrigation network of the RSE Kazvodkhoz for 2021-2025 was formed. Digitalization will cover 4 southern regions of the country with water consumers in the amount of 35.8 thousand farms. It is planned to automate and digitize 212 main main and inter-farm canals with a total water intake of 7.7 km3 on an irrigated area of ​​497 thousand hectares.

“This year it is planned to digitize 16 channels, and within 5 years the total length of automated channels will be more than 3.2 thousand km. These measures will reduce the excessive consumption of water by 1.2 km3 annually. As a result, due to the implementation of the above measures and the accumulation of water resources in the amount of 1.7 cubic meters. km additional total collection of water will be cubic meters. 6.4 km. That will allow, taking into account the projected water consumption by 2025, 27.9 cubic meters. km to cover the shortage of water resources and increase the available water resources for the sectors of the economy to 31.3 km3,” said Serikkali Brekeshev.

The minister also added that in order to achieve the above indicators, it is necessary to take the following measures:

First. Together with the Ministry of Agriculture and akimats, develop and approve Roadmaps for the introduction of water-saving technologies in all areas with the definition of areas.

Second. Develop a roadmap for the construction of 9 new reservoirs and projects to improve the technical condition of canals, incl. on 120 main channels until 2025.

Third. With a view to rational and economical use of irrigation water, continue the implementation of digitalization of water accounting in irrigation canals.

Fourth. Together with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Economy, consider the issue of allocating funds from the republican budget for the implementation of water projects.

Fifth. The regional akimats, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, shall gradually reduce the area under crops of moisture-loving crops.

Sixth. Revise water consumption limits downward.

"The above measures, with consistent funding, will allow achieving the planned goals, by 2025, restore the irrigation networks on an area of ​​600 thousand hectares and guaranteed water supply to 2.2 million hectares of irrigated land," Brekeshev said in conclusion.

The Minister of Agriculture Yerbol Karashukeyev, during his speech, noted that the issue of the construction and reconstruction of canals and reservoirs with the introduction of digital technologies for accounting and rational distribution of water in the face of an ever-increasing shortage of water resources is relevant and timely.

“As a result of the implementation of projects for the reconstruction and restoration of canals and reservoirs in 2021, the area where the water infrastructure is connected is 1.6 million hectares, of which 1,527 thousand hectares are cultivated, which is 16.8 thousand hectares more than in 2020 year. Of the specified area, 1,182 thousand hectares or 77.4% falls on the surface irrigation method, 96.3 thousand hectares or 6.3% are mainly rice fields, which are irrigated by the method of continuous flooding, and 248.4 thousand hectares are irrigated. hectares or 16.2%, modern drip or sprinkler irrigation is used,” the head of the Ministry of Agriculture informed.

According to statistics, oilseeds, grain crops, fodder crops, vegetables and melons, cotton, potatoes, rice, and sugar beets are cultivated on irrigated lands.

At the same time, annually about 200 thousand hectares are used without irrigation, i.e. not for its intended purpose. In this regard, according to E. Karashukeev, regional akimats need to intensify work on the withdrawal of lands used for other purposes and transfer them to bona fide land users in the manner prescribed by law.

As part of the execution of the instructions of the Head of State, work continues to bring irrigated areas to 2.2 million by 2025 and to 3 million hectares by 2030, respectively.

A decrease in the share of water-intensive crops such as rice and cotton, as well as cereal crops is expected, while irrigation of cereal crops is provided only in fodder crop rotation.

"In general, these measures will allow by 2030 to increase the area of ​​irrigated land 2 times, gross harvest — 5.6 times and gross revenue — 6.4 times," said Karashukeyev.

Prospects for increasing the efficiency of irrigated agriculture are inextricably linked with the widespread use of water-saving irrigation technologies, which can reduce water consumption and increase yields through a point supply of water and nutrients.

As the Minister of Agriculture added, today there is an increase in the area where water-saving technologies have been introduced, which was facilitated by investment subsidies, within the framework of which 50% of the costs incurred by farmers are reimbursed for the purchase of modern irrigation systems, as well as the installation of all necessary infrastructure for the intake and supply of water.

Within the framework of the developed National project for the development of the agro-industrial complex for 2021-2025. an indicator is provided for increasing the area to 450 thousand hectares, where water-saving technologies are applied.

Given the persistence of a low-water cycle and an increasing shortage of irrigation water, farmers are encouraged to actively introduce water-saving technologies. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture supports the proposal of the Ministry of Ecology to develop and approve Roadmaps for the introduction of water-saving technologies with the definition of areas in all areas with mandatory control over the implementation of the plans.

In order to stimulate farmers to introduce water-saving technologies, work is currently underway to differentiate subsidies for reimbursing water supply services depending on irrigation methods, i.e. subsidies at the same level will be received only by farmers using water-saving technologies.

One of the important areas of water conservation is the diversification of water-intensive crops. In general, the Ministry of Agriculture, jointly with regional akimats, annually conducts appropriate work to move away from water-intensive and monocultures. So, in the current year compared to 2020, the area of ​​cotton has been reduced by 18 thousand hectares, rice — by 7.6 thousand hectares.

In order to fulfill the protocol order of the Government meeting dated December 22, 2020, it is planned to further reduce the area of ​​cotton to 100 thousand hectares in the Turkistan region, as well as rice to 75 thousand hectares in the Kyzylorda region.

At the same time, Yerbol Karashukeyev noted that this year the price per kilogram of raw cotton is 280 tenge against last year's 130 tenge. In this regard, next year, farmers may take measures to increase the area of ​​cotton.

In order to water pastures in the period 2014-2020, 8,555 wells were built in the country, 11.9 million hectares of pastures were watered and 3.8 million head of livestock were provided with water.

The head of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan added that in accordance with the instructions of the Head of State, voiced in the Address to the people of Kazakhstan dated Sep. 1, 2021, work is underway to increase the share of cost recovery in the construction of wells for watering pastures from 50% to 80%.

“The Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, together with the regional akimats, needs to intensify work to confirm the reserves of groundwater in pasture lands. In addition, the regional akimats need to carry out work on inventory and identification of orphan wells within the framework of the current legislation with the subsequent establishment of points for watering cattle,’’ Yerbol Karashukeev said in conclusion.

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