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ADB Outlines Adaptation Options for Water Management in Aral Sea Basin

ADBMay 2014: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a working paper outlining adaptation options in water management in Central Asia, based on an assessment of the impacts of climate change on the hydrology of the Aral Sea Basin.

In the paper, titled ‘Climate Change and Sustainable Water Management in Central Asia,' the authors draw on field observations, satellite data and modeling to predict impacts on glaciers, glacial lakes, water resources and future water availability in the Syr Darya and Amu Darya Basins. The authors anticipate water scarcity of 43,000 million cubic meters in these two major rivers by the year 2050. They further predict changes in flood patterns, increased risk of landslides and mudflows due to instability of permafrost and slopes and a drier environment. They note farm yields have already fallen by 20 to 30% since the 1990s.

The authors recommend taking action in three broad areas: expanding the supply of water available in the future; increasing the productivity of water; and reducing future demand for water. They propose several options including: increasing reservoir capacity; increasing the reuse of water in irrigation and household use; reducing the areas under irrigation; and employing "deficit irrigation" – watering crops below the level required. [Publication: Climate Change and Sustainable Water Management in Central Asia] [ADB Press Release]