Information about water breaching the dam of the Qayroqqum reservoir that is located in Tajikistan appeared on Uzbek social networking yesterday late evening.  The information has caused panic in Uzbekistan, according to news agency.

The same day, the Emergencies Ministry of Uzbekistan released a statement noting that that information was absolutely baseless.

The Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan says the reservoir powering the Qayqoqqum hydropower plant is safe and sound and operates normally.

Emergency management agencies of both countries call on the population to be calm and not believe rumors.   

Meanwhile, says some residents of Sardoba, Mirzaobod and Oqoltin districts in Uzbekistan’s Syr-Darya oblast have begun to leave their homes in a hurry and traffic jams have formed on the roads in these districts.  

The Qayroqqum reservoir is a large artificial lake in the Tajik northern Sughd province powering the Qayroqqum hydroelectric power plant (HPP).  In 2016, the reservoir was renamed Tajik Sea (Bahri Tojik in Tajik) by the country's parliament.  The reservoir lies in the western part of the Ferghana Valley on the Syr Darya River. 

Recall, the tragic failure of the Sardoba dam in Uzbekistan has sparked fresh debate around water conflicts and the need for cooperation between Central Asia’s countries.

At 5.55 am on May 1, 2020, after five days of severe storms, a dam wall at the Sardoba reservoir in Uzbekistan’s Syr-Darya oblast collapsed and water poured through a breach onto cotton fields and villages.  To reduce water pressure on the walls of the reservoir and prevent further collapse of dam walls, its gates were opened.  Water spilled into the Southern Golodnostepsky Canal and its offshoots, with the intention of sending it to the Aydar-Arnasay lakes – a wetland of international ecological importance.  The capacity of the canal was overwhelmed, and the flood expanded.  According to some sources, the volume of water lost could exceed 500 m3 of the 922 million m3 the reservoir was designed to hold.

The flooding reportedly affected more than 35,000 hectares of land in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.  Six people died and at least 111,000 were evacuated from the Syr Darya River basin.