Water scarcity is particularly acute problem in Central Asia. The situation is exacerbated by severe over-exploitation of the available water resources and the effects of global climate change.  In addition, water resources in the region are unevenly distributed and used for different purposes. 

One of such problems is a decision of Kyrgyz authorities to construct a reservoir on the transboundary river, which is called Kozu-Baglan in Kyrgyzstan and Khojaboqirgon in Tajikistan.  

Khojaboqirgon River is left tributary Syr Darya River.  It is 130 kilometers in length and its basin is 1,740 square kilometers.  The river originates in Kyrgyzstan, at the southern border with Tajikistan and then the river flows into the Ferghana Valley.


The Tajik side considers that construction of a reservoir at the source of the river will disrupt the water supply of several districts in the Tajik northern Sughd province, therefore reservoirs on transboundary rivers must be built only by the agreement of the parties.  

Recall, Kamchybek Tashiyev, the chief of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, said during a meeting with residents of Kurshab village in Osh region on April 25 that it is planned to build an Ak-Took reservoir on the Kozu-Baglan River in Leilek district of Batken region

“We are conducting negotiations with Tajikistan.  We do not think that we will come, announce our conditions and resolve the border issue.  It does not work.  In this regard, we plan to start the implementation of three large projects, including the construction of the Ak-Took  on the Kozu-Baglan River in Leilek district.  Almost 100% of drinking water for Tajik cities of Khujand and Gafurov comes from us.  All the water goes there, while our own fields dry up,” Tashiyev said during the meeting with Kurshab residents, according to turmush.kg

According to him, they discussed this issue in the government and this project could be implemented during a year.  

“If we build this reservoir, then we will solve the border issue without problems,” Kyrgyz top security officer said.  


Tajikistan has an appropriate answer

The Tajik side says this topic has been discussed for a long time, but if Kyrgyzstan wants to bring border conflicts to the water ones, Tajikistan has an appropriate answer, an official with the Sughd regional administration told Asia-Plus on the basis of anonymity.  

“Kyrgyz authorities had earlier submitted the project to us and asked to participate in construction.  They should not build the reservoir without coordinating it with us.   Whether they like it or not, they must coordinate the construction of the reservoir with us,” the official said.

He further noted that a Kyrgyz pump station for irrigation of farmlands in Leilek district is located in the Tajik Bobojon-Ghafourov district.  This station takes water for irrigation of farmlands in Leilek district from the Qairoqqum reservoir.  

“That is, the neighboring country wants to create difficulties for us, while their pump station is located I our territory and takes water from our reservoir,”  the source added.   .

According to data from the Sughd directorate for land reclamation and irrigation, the Kyrgyz pump station locate in Tajik territory pumps out 3-3.5 cubic meters of water per second for  irrigation of farmlands in Leilek district.