Central Asia’s Post-Soviet Water War Explained

Central Asia’s Post-Soviet Water War Explained


Five countries in Central Asia are facing
an unexpected water and energy crisis. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan
and Kyrgyzstan. That’s a lot of Stans, were all once administered
by the Soviet Union, and were able to work together peacefully. But today, decades after the collapse of the
USSR, these countries are withholding resources, hurting each other, and themselves. So, why is Central Asia dealing with a water
and energy crisis? Well, throughout the 20th century and existence
of the Soviet Union, neighboring republics were administered by Moscow to share resources. In Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and
Turkmenistan were tasked with providing natural gas and electricity as a result of their massive
natural reserves. In return, neighboring Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
contributed water. This came from their plentiful reservoirs,
and the Amu Darya River. Until 1991, this system kept the entire region
satiated with power and water. But in the aftermath of the collapse of the
Soviet Union, there was no central government to dictate who would send what to who. For a few years all five were able to work
together. But Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan
soon realized that they would be able to sell their electricity and gas to other countries,
like Afghanistan. In 2009 and 2010, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
decided to remove themselves from the central Asian electricity grid altogether, to sell
those resources outside the region. This forced the water countries, Tajikistan
and Kyrgyzstan, to increase their production to power generators. This turned into a cycle where farms in the
energy countries, which depended on the downstream flow, began to fail. This spiral has led to significant changes
for all countries involved. With foreign buyers to compete with, and an
uncooperative Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, energy prices have skyrocketed in Central Asia. In fact, massive riots and a revolution in
Kyrgyzstan in 2010 unseated their president and allegedly led to hundreds of deaths and
reports of mass killings, gang rape and torture. Many blame these riots partially on power
failures and high energy prices during the previous winter, which led to many people
either paying outrageous prices for heating and light. And while all this is ongoing, the original
resources are starting to dry up, complicating the matter even further. As a result of climate change, the flow of
water from the Amu Darya river in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is expected to decrease in
the next two to three decades by as much as one third. So while those two countries are working hard
to supplement their lack of energy by building hydroelectric dams, the most important of
which being the massive Rogun Dam, it may ultimately fall short. As long as it is more profitable for these
countries to sell outside the circle rather than within it, these woes will likely continue
to destabilize both their populations and their governments. One country has already fallen, what happens
to the rest remains to be seen. Central Asia is not the only place struggling
with vital resources. The region’s neighboring country China has
been facing a massive water shortage for years now. So what factors have led to China’s severe
water crisis? Find out more in this video. When this launched in 2014, state media promoted
it as the cure to the country’s water problems, but due to grossly outdated miscalculations
of the South’s water supply, which has dwindled from climate change and drought, the project
has had little effect on the crisis at large. Also be sure to check out my Facebook page,
Nas Daily where I travel and post daily one minute videos about the world, no more, no
less. Thanks for watching Seeker Daily, be sure
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100 Comments on "Central Asia’s Post-Soviet Water War Explained"


  1. No StasiBook… So unless you have another media outlet.. Do not care.. Nothing good is on that whole eco system and i for one will not feed a beast of privacy infringements.. I care.. you should too.

    Reply

  2. Maybe you could do an episode about earmarks: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_582b7870e4b0aa8910bd5f3b

    Reply

  3. I cringed everytime he said "Kurjistan". Is it so hard to learn how to pronounce correctly my country's name? It's KyrGHizstan!!!

    Reply

  4. a lot of people didn't like Soviet Union, for good reasons, but I don't understand why those countries want to quit the Uion, they were and certainly will be much better off than where they are now if they had remained in Russia

    Reply

  5. soviets had everything figured out but greedy capitalists destroyed it all…. how many lives is money worth?

    Reply

  6. kazakstan have both water and gas. why they should share?
    Besides from money they sell natural gas they can import food. haha

    Reply

  7. I like this guy – he's so damn chipper. The music helps too. Nice changes I hope become more commonplace.

    Reply

  8. Why don't you let Trace talk about how Trump wants to increase NASA's funding and make them do actual space exploration rather than maintaining satellites?

    But now, can't mention that, because Trump is bad, no matter how good he is.

    Reply

  9. Kazakhstan = West Xinjiang. After Tibetan independence, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will become Xizang Province of China 🙂

    Reply

  10. In my new Crusade helping the Jews, the countries will now be called Kazakhstein, Kyrgyzstein, Tajikistein, Turkmenistein, and Uzbekistein!

    Reply

  11. I hate this guy. He speaks bad English, speaks with odd vocal inflections, and his facial expressions along with his hand movements is just as odd..

    Reply

  12. They should form a massive bloc known as "Stanistan", or just "Stan". Fear the mighty nation of Stan.. XD

    Reply

  13. suggestion can you consider to lower the volume of the background music, so the host doesn't have to raze his voice? it makes it easier to understand

    Reply

  14. On wikipedia it can show you almost every single city / region in the world that ends in stan (yea there is hundreds)

    Reply

  15. Yep, Communism was completely evil, despite providing for all its people (sarcasm). These countries would do well to surrender their sovereignty to Russia again.

    Reply

  16. Seems like Middle east is not having any problem and just "Central Asia" Stan countries are good to discuss.

    Reply

  17. All 5 countries should just merge and create "Greatstan" or something, ain't that hard if they put their minds to it =.=

    Reply

  18. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan should synthesise water from hydrogen and oxygen! Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan should generate electricity from burning heretics! That way everybody will be happy.

    Reply

  19. They were all better of during the Soviet Union. They might not be affluent but at least they were peaceful and taken cared off. Their citizens did not have to work abroad as the state provided food, housing, education, employment and decent living for all of them. Well, then came "democracy"…

    Reply

  20. No offense but they were all better off and more cooperative with each other when Moscow was in control of their governments.

    Reply

  21. tfw you are reminded that the Soviet Union was dismantled and the situation is getting worse and worse 🙁

    Reply

  22. How many STANS do you know? Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Qoraqalpoqistan (parts of Uzbekistan)) Kirgizistan Turkmanistan Pakistan Afganistan Hindistan(India) Moghulistan ( mongolya) Tataristan Chuvashistan Yakutisatan( parts of Russia) Balkaristan (Bulgry) Turkistan (parts fo of China) Kurdistan Armaniston (Armanya) Farangiston ( France) so cool

    Reply

  23. All Central Asian countries are five fingers of hand they cannot live without each other! And they become huge power if they can unite!

    Reply

  24. No the flow is not due to climate change. It is due to divertion of the sources, as well as overexploitation and explosive population growth. Many of the stans have quadrupled in population in just a few years.

    Reply

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