Priorities and challenges for a sustainable management of water resources in Kazakhstan

Marat Karatayev, Zhanna Kapsalyamova, Lazat Spankulova, Aizhan Skakova, Galiya Movkebayeva, Adilet Kongyrbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The water availability in Kazakhstan is 37000 m3 per one km2 and 3650 m3 per capita a year, an amount that is lower than the world average (around 6000 m3) (Knoema, 2016). It is expected that water availability falls to 2300 m3 per capita in a year by 2030 (FAO, 2016a). Water pollution is a further problem for exploiting available water resources. In fact, 50–70% of surface water resources in Kazakhstan have been rated “polluted” and “highly polluted” in terms of ecological status (ICSD, 2016). Apart from that, water use efficiency remains very low. The average efficiency of canal water delivery systems is only 15–20% compared to 70–90% in most developed countries (FAO, 2016b). A number of institutional and policy measures have been implemented to enhance the sustainability of water resource use and water security; however, the country is still facing a number of problems of water use in a sustainable manner. This study provides stakeholders’ assessment of the critical factors that affect the sustainable management of water resources in Kazakhstan. The study rests on the results from the interviews that are further examined using the SWOC approach (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges) and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique. The study demonstrates and prioritizes 32 critical SWOC factors relevant to the sustainable management of water resources in Kazakhstan. The study also determines four key stakeholder groups with differing opinions regarding the SWOC factors, which could potentially impact final policy implementation. Creating a comprehensive regulatory framework alongside decentralising water management from state water authorities to community-based water-user associations as well as investment to innovative irrigation technologies are likely to contribute towards a more equitable and efficient water distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-135
Number of pages21
JournalSustainability of Water Quality and Ecology
Volume9-10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • Kazakhstan
  • Sustainable water management
  • SWOC-AHP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology

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