14 November, 2023
The purpose of this article is to analyse how the construction of the Qosh Tepa canal in Afghanistan, spanning 285 km, will impact the water supply situation in Uzbekistan. Following the completion of this construction in 2027, it is set to acquire a significant share of water resources from the Amu Darya basin. According to the author’s calculations, under the most expected scenario, Uzbekistan will only receive 16.4 km³ per year, a considerable reduction from the current 23 km³ stipulated in the agreement with the countries of post-Soviet Central Asia. This prospect, wherein Uzbekistan’s water intake from the Amu Darya will decrease by 30%, presents a more pessimistic outlook compared to estimates in available publications, which predict a reduction in the country’s share by only 15%. The author scrutinizes the measures taken by the Uzbek government to transition to water-saving irrigation technologies and demonstrates that these efforts are insufficient to avoid the worst-case scenario. Additional steps in this direction are proposed, primarily focusing on the reform of the governance system in the agricultural sector, especially in the cotton industry.