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Sunday May 19, 2024

Uzbekistan to urge public to save water as crisis looms

By AFP
November 18, 2023
In this picture taken on May 11, 2022, a woman fills cans with water from a hand pump during a heatwave in Jacobabad, in the southern Sindh province. —AFP
In this picture taken on May 11, 2022, a woman fills cans with water from a hand pump during a heatwave in Jacobabad, in the southern Sindh province. —AFP

TASHKENT: Uzbekistan on Friday said it would urge the public to save water, as global warming and creaking infrastructure point to a serious crisis in the landlocked arid country.

Experts have said streamflows at its two main rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, are set to drop by up to 15 percent by 2050. Over 90 percent of Uzbekistan´s water is used for agriculture, and leaks on its vast, Soviet-era irrigation network mean that over a third of water is lost during transportation.

“The main task should be to instil in the population the idea that water is not free,” Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev said on a visit to the country´s south, which faces regular droughts. This message will be reinforced “together with neighbourhood activists, intellectuals, and the general public,” he was quoted as saying by his spokesman.