24 May 2022, 12:11
At the meeting of the Government chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov, issues of the efficient use of water resources were considered. Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan Serikkali Brekeshev, Minister of Agriculture Yerbol Karashukeyev, Akim of the Kyzylorda Region Nurlybek Nalibayev made presentations.
Brekeshev informed about the efficient use of water resources during the growing season of this year.
Thus, about 11.6 km3 of water falls on the regular irrigation of the country out of the total water intake, of which 11.3 km3 or 97% falls on 4 southern regions. These are Almaty, Zhambyl, Turkestan and Kyzylorda with a total irrigation area of 1.28 million hectares or 80% of the total area (1.6 million hectares) in the country.
“In recent years, water shortages have been felt in the southern regions of the country. To ensure a stable growing season in these regions, from November 2021, preparatory work began for the upcoming growing season,” the Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted.
The Ministry approved the Work Plan for the non-vegetation and growing seasons of 2021-2022, under which external and internal activities are being implemented, including the following.
First. Work with neighboring countries to ensure additional water discharges from upstream reservoirs;
Second. Repair and restoration work on canals of interstate use in the basins of transboundary rivers;
Third. Cleaning of the main and inter-farm canals of the irrigation network, purchase of additional equipment (pumping units);
Fourth. Reducing the areas of water-intensive crops (rice, cotton, onions);
Fifth. Large-scale introduction of water-saving technologies.
According to Brekeshev, within the framework of cooperation with neighboring countries, with the Kyrgyz side, as part of the exchange of goods and the supply of electricity on a commercial basis, it was possible to resolve the issue of water supply through the Dostyk canal in the summer months in the amount of 330 million m3.
“May 25-28 in Bishkek, schedules for the return of electricity within the framework of the exchange of goods for June-August on a monthly basis, and for June on a daily basis will be agreed. In addition, visits by experts of the parties to interstate water facilities in the basins of the Shu and Talas rivers will be held,” the Minister of Ecology said.
There are preliminary agreements with the Tajik side on the passage of a volume of water through the Bahri Tojik reservoir, discharged from Toktogul.
Until the end of May, the conditions for the drawdown of the BakhriTojik reservoirs (how much water Kazakhstan will receive at the peak of vegetation through the Dostyk canal) will be agreed upon, and on June 5-6 in Dushanbe, these conditions will be fixed by a trilateral protocol (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan).
At the end of April in the city of Turkestan, within the framework of the meeting of the Interstate Coordinating Water Commission, the forecast mode of operation of the Naryn-Syrdarya cascade of reservoirs was agreed upon, according to which the inflow to the Shardara reservoir during the growing season should be 3.9 billion m3, which will allow the growing season to pass without significant losses.
The situation in the water supply of the Shu and Talas river basins is stable. During the 30th meeting of the Chu-Talas Water Commission (dated April 20, 2022), schedules were signed for water supply through interstate canals in the Talas River basin for 500 million m3, in the Shu River basin for 220 million m3.
“Based on hydrological forecasts, a difficult water management situation was expected in the basin of the transboundary Syrdarya river. However, due to the measures taken and climatic conditions, the water management situation has stabilized,” the Minister of Ecology noted.
In particular, the inflow to the Shardara reservoir increased by more than 2.5 times, which made it possible to fill the Shardara reservoir up to 5 billion m3 and collect up to 822 million m3 of water into the Koksarai counter-regulator. During the specified period, the Shardara reservoir received about 1.5 billion m3 of water.
Thus, the bed of the Syrdarya River was fed before the start of the mass vegetation, water recharge of irrigated lands, filling of lake systems and haylands.
According to Brekeshev, the filling of the Toktogul reservoir in May reached more than 10 billion m3, which is almost 25% higher than in March.
There is also a significant increase in filling in the Shardara reservoir and the Koksarai counter-regulator - by 350 million m3 more than in March.
As part of internal activities, the Ministry carries out the following work:
First. Reconstruction of 259 hydraulic structures in transboundary river basins;
Second. Mechanical cleaning of 535 km of main and inter-farm canals;
Third. Procurement and installation of 67 pumping units.
This work will be completed by the end of June this year.
In Almaty region, in order to reduce the shortage of water resources, the akimat of the region reduced the sowing of water-intensive crops, including rice per 1 thousand hectares in the Balkhash region.
All reservoirs of the region operate in accordance with the approved schedule for the growing season.
In Zhambyl region, as noted earlier, water supply schedules for interstate facilities were approved.
It should also be noted that large-scale work is currently underway in the region to reconstruct irrigation networks, so irrigation water will be supplied through bypass channels.
In the Turkistan region this year, the rice area has been reduced to 600 hectares.
In the Kyzylorda region, rice areas have been reduced to 78.3 thousand hectares, which is 5 thousand hectares less than last year. Also, funds in the amount of 3.6 billion tenge were allocated from the Government's reserve for the repair and drilling of wells, as well as the purchase of pumping units.
Also, the akimats of the southern regions are cleaning the canals, applying water-saving technologies, organizing water circulation and irrigation sequence.
“In general, thanks to the measures taken in advance, the water management situation in the southern regions is stable. To maintain this situation, it is necessary to ensure coordination of the actions of water supply organizations with farmers to provide them with irrigation water, comply with irrigation technologies, apply the irrigation sequence and reuse collector and drainage water,” Brekeshev explained.
In turn, the Minister of Agriculture Karashukeyev reported that the growing season last year was not easy. According to the data of akimats, the planned area of crops in the current year on irrigated lands is 1.5 million hectares, which is 39 thousand hectares (2.6%) less than last year. At the same time, the final areas will be specified after the completion of sowing work.
Currently, sowing works on irrigated lands in the southern regions are being completed (Zhambyl 100%), in other regions they are still ongoing.
Farmers engaged in irrigated agriculture, as farmers cultivating rainfed lands, receive appropriate state support measures for spring field work, such as subsidies for seeds, mineral fertilizers, herbicides, as well as fuel and lubricants and preferential loans.
“1 million 122 thousand hectares fall on the surface method of irrigation of agricultural crops, 87.6 thousand hectares are mainly rice fields that are irrigated by the method of continuous flooding, and on 277.6 thousand hectares of the total area modern drip or sprinkler irrigation. Here it is necessary to note the Pavlodar, Zhambyl, Karaganda, Almaty regions, where there is a high percentage of the use of water-saving technologies,” said the Minister of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, the diversification of water-intensive crops continues, in this regard, a decrease in rice area by 8.7 thousand hectares is expected compared to 2021, of which Kyzylorda region 5.3 thousand hectares, Turkistan region 2.9 thousand hectares and Almaty area 0.6 thousand ha.
The area of monoculture - cotton is expected to increase to 115 thousand hectares, which is 5 thousand hectares more than last year. However, according to operational data, this figure exceeded 119 thousand hectares. This was facilitated by the high purchase price of 350 thousand tenge per ton of raw cotton, which was 220 thousand tenge more than in 2020.
As Karashukeyev noted, the development of irrigated agriculture will be ensured through the widespread introduction of water-saving irrigation technologies.
Thus, in order to encourage farmers to use modern moisture-saving technologies, state support is provided in the form of investment subsidies, which provides for reimbursement of 50% of the costs incurred for the purchase of modern irrigation systems, as well as summing up all the necessary infrastructure. For these purposes, at the request of the regions for the implementation of 268 projects, 16.6 billion tenge are provided.
The cost of water supply services to agricultural producers is also subsidized, where the amount of subsidies allocated per cubic meter of water is set differentially from 50% to 85%, as a percentage of tariffs. For these purposes, 2.7 billion tenge is provided.
“In order to encourage farmers to introduce water-saving technologies, work is currently underway to differentiate subsidies for reimbursement of water supply services depending on irrigation methods, i.e. Only farmers who use water-saving technologies will receive subsidies at the same level,” the Minister of Agriculture said.
At the same time, training of farmers and dissemination of knowledge is carried out. Within the framework of the Kazakh Agrarian Research University, the International Research Center "Water Hub" operates, which assists the innovative development of the agro-industrial complex of the country and the region, the training of new-formation specialists who are in demand in the agricultural labor market.
Earlier, in the four southern regions, the monitoring and assessment of the ameliorative state of irrigated lands was carried out by three republican state institutions of the Ministry.
Starting from the current year, the zone of activity of these republican institutions has been expanded in terms of coverage of all irrigated lands of the republic by meliorative monitoring.
In addition, it is planned to integrate the results of monitoring and assessing the reclamation state of irrigated lands with the Automated Information System of the State Land Cadastre.
This year, for the pre-vegetation period, operational information (reports) on the level of groundwater occurrence, their mineralization and chemical composition has been prepared.
Thus, the area of irrigated land with an unacceptable level of groundwater occurrence amounted to 170.6 thousand hectares, of which 112.4 thousand hectares in the Turkistan region, 27.6 thousand hectares in the Kyzylorda region, and 16.8 thousand hectares in the Almaty region. ha and Zhambyl region - 13.2 thousand ha.
The area of irrigated lands with high salinity of groundwater amounted to 264.5 thousand hectares, of which 152.1 thousand hectares in the Kyzylorda region, 63.6 thousand hectares in the Turkestan region, 40.1 thousand hectares in the Almaty region and Zhambyl region - 8.7 thousand hectares.
Akim of the Kyzyloda region N. Nalibaev noted that due to the supply of water in large volumes to the channel of the Syr Darya, most of the lakes were filled up to 75 percent.
This, in turn, improved the level of natural forage supply.
Due to the shortage of irrigation water this year, the sown area was reduced by 2.5 thousand hectares and will be placed on 185.6 thousand hectares. And rice crops this year will be reduced by 5.2 thousand hectares.
“To date, the work on sowing fodder and oilseeds has been fully completed. 83% of the main crop, rice, has been sown,” the head of the region informed.
3.6 billion tenge was allocated from the Government's reserve, 162 canals with a length of 1034 kilometers were cleaned, work is underway to purchase 156 units of pumping equipment, drill 52 wells, and repair 322 units of hydraulic structures.
On an area of 565 hectares, crops are being sown using water-saving technologies (drip and sprinkler).
“At a meeting of the Interstate Coordinating Water Commission, the flow of water into the Shardara reservoir during the growing season in the amount of 3.9 billion m3 was agreed. In this regard, the flow of water from the Shardara reservoir was agreed with the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources until June 5 in the amount of 550 m³ / second, and in June-September months 500 m³ / second, joint work will be carried out," the akim summed up .