The issue of accessibility and quality of water resources remains relevant, emphasized President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during the Address to the People of Kazakhstan, as reported by a correspondent from the business information center Kapital.kz
The head of the state noted that considering the trend of population and economic growth, by 2040, the water deficit in Kazakhstan could reach 12-15 billion cubic meters.
"In turn, farmers and industrialists require quality water analysis and forecasting. This pertains to both annual supplies and mid-term prospects. Therefore, planning ahead is necessary," highlighted the President.
"Simultaneously, it's crucial to use internal water resources judiciously. Kazym-Zhomart Tokayev stated that the implementation of water-saving technologies is progressing extremely slowly, and there is a lack of a culture of responsible water consumption. Losses in agriculture, a key water consumer, reach up to 40% in certain regions. The actual wear and tear of water management facilities exceeds 60%.
"To rectify the situation, the most decisive and swift measures are required. Primarily, the implementation of advanced water-saving technologies should be accelerated – up to 150,000 hectares annually. It's essential to address the accumulation of thaw water and losses during its transfer, as this is our internal reserve. To achieve this, it's necessary to construct 20 new reservoirs and reconstruct at least 15 existing ones, modernize, and digitize no fewer than 3,500 kilometers of canals. The goal is to provide an additional approximate two cubic kilometers of water by 2027," instructed the head of state.
He emphasized that the implementation of water-saving technologies is a crucial matter that requires immediate action.
Therefore, violations in this sector will be rigorously suppressed and punished to the fullest extent of the law. He emphasized that water resources hold no less importance for our country than oil, gas, or metals.
However, at present, we cannot do without a new tariff policy that corresponds to the current realities. The outdated infrastructure is functioning at its limits. Creating new infrastructure is a task for the market. Excessive water consumption will result in increased tariffs. In short, we need to save water in every possible way. Moreover, the 'black market' of water must be completely eradicated. Water is a limited resource, its availability is a guarantee of the survival of farmers," noted Kasym-Jomart Tokayev.
As part of the ministry, the National Hydrogeological Service will be reestablished. The entire water management system of the country will undergo reform, encompassing key companies such as "Kazvodkhoz," "Nurinskiy Group Water Supply," and others.
"Therefore, violations in this area will be strongly suppressed and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Water resources hold no less importance for our country than oil, gas, or metals," he emphasized.
"Significant financial investment and, most importantly, strengthening of the workforce across the entire sector will be required. The growing water deficit is a common problem for the countries of Central Asia. Rational use of water resources, alongside the energy and transportation sectors, can become another important element of a new model of regional cooperation. I instruct the government to thoroughly address this issue in collaboration with neighboring states," summarized Kasym-Jomart Tokayev.
"Our country relies on transboundary water resources. The rivers and canals of Eurasia are a common natural heritage intended to unite nations and economies. On this matter, it is crucial to always find understanding and mutually beneficial consensus with our neighbors and friends. Therefore, conducting a well-balanced water policy and addressing transboundary water usage issues are among the government's most important tasks," he emphasized.