August 25, 2008

Uzbek Report Says Kyrgyzstan Violating Norms of Using Water

An article published in the Narodnoye Slovo newspaper on 19 August accused Kyrgyzstan of violating international agreements on using transborder rivers by reducing the volume of water discharged from the Toktogul reservoir during the summer.

The article said that "entire water flow in the rivers of Naryn- Syrdarya cascade and the Syr Darya transborder river practically goes through the Toktogul hydro-energy complex, which means the Kyrgyz side fully controls schedule and volume of water discharged for downstream users of the river flow (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan)".

The article described the issue of regulating water discharge as "vitally important" for agriculture of the region's countries during growing season.

"The fate of harvest is decided for millions of people living in the region during growing season - April-September," the article stressed.

Before 1991, 2.7 times more water was used to be discharged in summer from the reservoir than in winter, the article said. "As of 1991, when Kyrgyzstan began to control the hydroelectric complex, a tendency towards annually increasing water discharges during autumn and winter has been observed. On average, this volume increased to 7,400m cu.m. in 1991-2000, and to 8,750m cu.m. until 2008," it went on to say.

"Water discharges during summer - growing season, on the contrary, reduced to 5,300m cu.m.," it said.

"Assessing this policy from the point of view of international law, international specialists call this a violation of international norms of using transborder waterways," the article said. The article also said that "Kyrgyzstan has violated the regulations of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), the Nukus (1995) and Almaty (1997) declarations of the Central Asian countries, the agreement between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan 'On cooperation in the field of joint management, use and protection of water of international water resources' (1992) as well as relevant UN conventions including the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of the International Rivers (Helsinki,1992), the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Helsinki 1992) and the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (New-York, 1997)".

(The report ran to about 1,000 words; no further processing planned)

Originally published by Narodnoye Slovo, Tashkent, in Russian 19 Aug 08 p 2.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.