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NEWS AND EVENTS
June 21, 2012
Uzbekistan to lose US$600m a year due to Rogun dam
Future water shortage due to construction of Rogun hydropower station, may cost Uzbekistan over US$600 million annually in losses from agriculture. A new research of the US scholars on impact of Rogun project to agriculture sector of Uzbekistan said.

The experts, Shokhrukh-Mirzo Jalilov of the New Mexico State University and Tom M. DeSutter and Jay Leitch of North Dakota State University published an article titled “Future water shortage may cost Uzbekistan over US $600 million annually in losses from agriculture”.

The scholars said that water shortage will result in decrease of GDP of Uzbekistan by 2% and some 300,000 people will lose their jobs.

The experts rates two scenarios – worse and more likely case, when Rogun power station will be filled in and will work in full regime.

They noted that 12.4 years will be required to fill Rogun water reservoir. This period will be difficult as part of Amudarya will be directed to filling reservoir. The main impact will be when Rogun reservoir is in full operation mode accumulating water in summer and releasing water in winter, which differs from the flow regime needed by downstream irrigated agriculture.

With Rogun hydropower station operating in full electricity generation mode in winter, the Amudarya River flow entering Uzbekistan in the summer is predicted to decrease by 18% and to increase by 54% in winter (Figure 2). This suggests that: one, during May to September (irrigation period), Uzbekistan will have a shortage of water; and two, from September to May, Uzbekistan will experience water abundance, which may lead to flooding.

This scenario is clearly a no-win option for the Uzbekistan economy as the country would have to remove 506,000 hectares of land (about 11% of the country‟s irrigated agricultural land area) (FAO, 1997) from agricultural production, which means 336,000 people may lose their jobs.

As a result, Uzbekistan’s GDP would decrease by 2.2%, government revenues decreasing by 6.9%, and economic growth would likely decline, the US researchers said.

The \"more likely case\" scenario assumes that Uzbekistan will undertake reforms in agricultural water use, particularly in irrigation practices, and adjust irrigation requirements to fit potential water shortages.

This scenario would allow Uzbekistan time to adjust agricultural water consumption by 15% over 12 years of Rogun reservoir filling, reducing the negative effects of changed water flows. This scenario also assumes an increase in water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture.

Generally, a 15% reduction in water use would reduce negative impacts by 40%, meaning Uzbekistan will have to withdraw only 314,000 hectares of irrigated land compared to the 506,000 hectares if nothing is done.

Moreover that reduction would reduce the number of unemployed to 208,000; the country’s GDP by 1.4%; and the revenue part of the budget by 4.3%. While this scenario also has negative results, the impacts are reduced with adequate planning.

US scholars said that Uzbekistan’s agriculture sector and economy will be damaged by Rogun project. They said that the Amudarya River may have increased flow during winter, which may lead to flooding downstream countries. (Source: UzDaily.com)


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