DROUGHT IS A COMMON OCCURRENCE IN CENTRAL ASIA
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Drought is a common occurrence in Central Asia. However, climate change and rapid economic development exacerbate its consequences, including those related to the scarcity of water resources in the region.
A new report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is devoted to the fight against drought in Central Asia. Under the aegis of the organization, a study was conducted in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Its authors recommended the countries of the region where the steppes and deserts surrounded by mountain ranges predominate, to adopt more aggressive methods of combating drought. They advised to provide the population with suitable varieties of sowing crops, as well as to intensify the fight against soil salinization, a problem that is especially urgent for Kazakhstan. In addition, experts stressed that the leaders of the region should remember the importance of sharing trans-boundary water resources. After all, the basins of rivers flowing into the Aral Sea are in joint use by most countries in the region.
More than 60 million people live in Central Asia. Most of the moisture is formed as a result of the melting of snow carried by rivers. Summers are hot and arid. Agriculture, mainly irrigation, accounts for a quarter of the region’s GDP, and the share of employment in agriculture is even higher. In addition, water supply is of great importance for hydropower, which almost completely provides the region with electricity.