Tuesday, 22 December 2020, 10:21:52
At the government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, issues of water resources use were considered. Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev presented his report.
In recent years, the actual resources of river flow per year are 90-100 km3, of which about 51 km3 is local flow, the rest comes from China, the countries of Central Asia and Russia through transboundary rivers. The total volume of water intake for the needs of the population and economic sectors is about 25 km3. Of these, agriculture accounts for 15 km3, industry — 6 km3 and utilities — 1 km3. Transportation losses are 3 km3. In addition, the maintenance of ecological systems requires about 50 km3.
“Over the past three years, Kazakhstan has been in a cycle of low water. The total river flow in 2019 was 83 km3. This is 20% less than the annual average. It should be noted that 97% of the total water withdrawal from the republican volume falls on the four southern regions. The actual water withdrawal in 2020 across the republic amounted to 13.3 km3, which is 1 km3 more than in 2019,” Mirzagaliyev noted.
The growing season has been stable this year. It was still very tense. The snow cover in the Almaty region was 35% less than last year. The runoff of the Ile River has decreased two to three times. And the area of irrigated land increased by 11% compared to 2019. Despite the above factors, it can be said that, in general, the growing season was successful.
“The area under rice in the region is 10 thousand hectares, or 2% of the total irrigated area. At the same time, the water supply to the rice fields amounted to 10% of the total water withdrawal of the region or 350 million m3 per year. In this regard, we consider it necessary to reduce rice sowing. And due to the saved water, it will be possible to irrigate 40 thousand hectares of less moisture-loving crops,” the minister said.
In the Zhambyl region in 2020, the water volume was 15-20% lower than the average long-term data. Despite the difficulties encountered in water distribution on transboundary rivers, the growing season in the region was stable. Taking into account the predicted low-water cycle, it is proposed to gradually switch to less water-intensive crops and actively introduce water-saving technologies. In the Turkistan region, the inflow of the Syrdarya river in 2020 was 15% lower and the volume of the Toktogul reservoir (Kyrgyzstan), which is the main resource of the Syrdarya river, was less by 2 billion m3 of water than in 2019. Despite this, the facts of insufficient irrigation water supply were not recorded.
In Maktaaral district, rice is grown on an area of 4 thousand hectares. If this is reduced, then the water savings will amount to 158 million m3. Accordingly, the saved water can be used for irrigation of 13 thousand hectares of water-intensive crops.
In the Kyzylorda region, the area of irrigated land is 251 thousand hectares. This will be 16% of the country's total irrigated area. Thus, the region used 43% or 4 km3 of tap water in the republic as a whole. In general, a very difficult water situation was observed in the region.
“At the same time, I would like to note that the rice area was 90 thousand hectares. Whereas, according to the Program for the Development of the AIC, the area under crops should not exceed 75 thousand hectares. As you know, Elbasy Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev set a task to bring the area of irrigated land to 2.2 million hectares by 2025. The head of state, Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev, ordered to bring the area of irrigated land to 3 million hectares by 2030,” the minister emphasized.
According to our calculations, while maintaining the current trend in water consumption, the projected deficit will amount to 11.7 km3 by 2030. In this regard, measures are needed to reduce water consumption today.
First, in order to prevent water shortages, it is necessary to reduce rice crops by 29 thousand hectares, namely, in Kyzylorda, Almaty and Turkestan regions. This will save 1 km3 of water.
Second: to continue introducing water-saving irrigation technologies on an area of at least 750 thousand hectares. This will make it possible to save on average up to 30% or 2.2 km3 of water.
Third: due to the reconstruction of irrigation networks with a length of 6 thousand km and the large-scale implementation of digitalization on 119 main main canals, 2 km3 of water will be saved per year. For these needs in the next 5 years will be allocated 192 billion tenge from the republican budget and international financial organizations.
Fourth: within 10 years, 39 new reservoirs will be built to store water in the amount of 3.6 km3, which will reduce the threat of flood events for 70 settlements and 137 thousand people. 394 thousand hectares of new irrigated land will be provided with a water source, which will create more than 129 thousand jobs in agriculture.
“Already today, the construction of the Kensai-Koskorgan-2 reservoir is underway in the Turkistan region, a feasibility study is being developed for 28 reservoirs, and design estimates for 3 reservoirs. Successful implementation of the above measures will make it possible to additionally accumulate about 8.8 km3 of water. Taking into account the current water withdrawal limit of 15 km3, the final balance will be 23.8 km3. Thus, having provided irrigated land with an area of 3 million hectares with irrigation water in the amount of 19.8 km3,” Mirzagaliyev said.
In the Maktaaral district of the Turkistan region, the main channel K-19 was digitized this year. This first pilot project was successfully implemented. Thanks to the digitization of the canal, it was found that water is consumed by 45% more. Taking into account the experience gained, all the main channels of the country will be digitized over the next 5 years.
First: It is necessary to gradually reduce the area under crops of moisture-loving crops (rice and cotton).
Second: The construction of new reservoirs and projects to improve the technical condition of canals will continue.
Third: An increase in the area of irrigated land is impossible without the introduction of water-saving irrigation technologies.
Fourth: In order to efficiently and economically use irrigation water by 2025, it is necessary to carry out massive digitalization at 119 main canals.
Fifth: Taking into account the dependence on transboundary sources in the southern regions, new irrigated land should first of all be introduced in the water-supplied eastern and northern regions.