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Could changing power relationships lead to better water sharing in Central Asia?

Zhupankhan, Aibek; Tussupova, Kamshat LU and Berndtsson, Ronny LU (2017) In Water (Switzerland) 9(2).
Abstract

Even though Central Asia is water rich, water disputes have characterized the region after crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1991. The uneven spatial distribution and complex pattern of transboundary water sources with contrasting national water needs have created an intricate water dilemma. Increasing national water needs, water claims by surrounding countries, uncertainties in renewable water volumes, and effects of climate change will put further strain on the future water use in Central Asia. We argue that the present power distribution with three downstream hegemons (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and two upstream much poorer countries with less political influence (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) is not likely to lead forward... (More)

Even though Central Asia is water rich, water disputes have characterized the region after crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1991. The uneven spatial distribution and complex pattern of transboundary water sources with contrasting national water needs have created an intricate water dilemma. Increasing national water needs, water claims by surrounding countries, uncertainties in renewable water volumes, and effects of climate change will put further strain on the future water use in Central Asia. We argue that the present power distribution with three downstream hegemons (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and two upstream much poorer countries with less political influence (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) is not likely to lead forward to a greater willingness to share water. We discuss this situation with the analogue Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia in the Nile Basin. Thus, as in the case of Ethiopia in the Nile Basin, gradually economically stronger upstream countries Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan due to hydropower development are likely to eventually re-define the hydropolitical map of Central Asia. As in the case of the Nile Basin, a more even power balance between upstream and downstream countries may lead to an improved political structure for a much needed better collaboration on water issues.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Central Asia, Climate change, Hydropolitics, Transboundary water, Water conflict, Water management
in
Water (Switzerland)
volume
9
issue
2
publisher
MDPI AG
external identifiers
  • scopus:85013781548
  • wos:000395435800069
ISSN
2073-4441
DOI
10.3390/w9020139
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ad0fa703-9ab9-4f53-8882-f2623909c1b6
date added to LUP
2017-03-09 08:07:58
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:38:13
@article{ad0fa703-9ab9-4f53-8882-f2623909c1b6,
  abstract     = {<p>Even though Central Asia is water rich, water disputes have characterized the region after crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1991. The uneven spatial distribution and complex pattern of transboundary water sources with contrasting national water needs have created an intricate water dilemma. Increasing national water needs, water claims by surrounding countries, uncertainties in renewable water volumes, and effects of climate change will put further strain on the future water use in Central Asia. We argue that the present power distribution with three downstream hegemons (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and two upstream much poorer countries with less political influence (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) is not likely to lead forward to a greater willingness to share water. We discuss this situation with the analogue Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia in the Nile Basin. Thus, as in the case of Ethiopia in the Nile Basin, gradually economically stronger upstream countries Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan due to hydropower development are likely to eventually re-define the hydropolitical map of Central Asia. As in the case of the Nile Basin, a more even power balance between upstream and downstream countries may lead to an improved political structure for a much needed better collaboration on water issues.</p>},
  articleno    = {139},
  author       = {Zhupankhan, Aibek and Tussupova, Kamshat and Berndtsson, Ronny},
  issn         = {2073-4441},
  keyword      = {Central Asia,Climate change,Hydropolitics,Transboundary water,Water conflict,Water management},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  publisher    = {MDPI AG},
  series       = {Water (Switzerland)},
  title        = {Could changing power relationships lead to better water sharing in Central Asia?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w9020139},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2017},
}