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Groundwater use in irrigated agriculture in Amudarya River Basin in socio-economic dimensions




Karimov, Askarali, author
Bazatov, Dilshod, author
Kazbekov, Jusipbek, author
Rakhmatullaev, Shavkat, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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The paper analyses groundwater resources use in socio-economic context in Amudarya River Basin. The paper discusses present extent of groundwater resources use and special focus is on agriculture, livestock use and small farmers in their homegardens. Institutional and social pattern of groundwater resources use, allocation, monitoring and distribution are other aspects that reviewed. After the collapse of former Soviet Union with its old water resources management mechanism and infrastructure, new underdeveloped systems are being practiced over Amudarya River Basin. Many assessment reports haven't considered Afghanistan in their analysis for water allocation. In Afghanistan, after the end of civil war, irrigated lands are being expanded and the share of groundwater use is increasing too according to the recent reports and assessment projects by international institutions and local scholars. Local farmers use water from boreholes and wells for their water supply systems in order to range livestock and grow crops for sustaining their livelihoods. For example, in Afghanistan karezes (traditional groundwater extraction structure) are widely documented as main extraction methods. Many farmers and settlements use different water extraction mechanisms for withdrawing water. Some drill new boreholes and some renovate old wells. Majority of locals does not have access to machinery pumps and do not have funds for purchasing or renting such pumps for practicing irrigated agriculture. Economic aspects are discussed in broader sense and results are taken from farmers' interviews, personal communication with national hydrogeologists. In general, may farmers claim that it is worth to invest in finding groundwater for producing agricultural products and rearing livestock. Groundwater resources becoming alternative source of supply for irrigated agriculture, livestock ranching worldwide. Amudarya River basin (Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) countries due to its climatic characteristics, economic development strategies and geopolitical situation have been experiencing everlasting competition over water resources. Mostly arid, agrarian countries pursue their own development and integration into global community through expanding irrigated lands, growing cash crops such as cotton, rice and wheat for meeting their domestic food security.


Presented during the Third international conference on irrigation and drainage held March 30 - April 2, 2005 in San Diego, California. The theme of the conference was "Water district management and governance."

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