Water but no Gas in Tajikistan

IWPR’s Tajikistan radio editor Zebo Tajibaeva looks at the effects that continuing regional disputes over energy and gas are having on the country.

Water but no Gas in Tajikistan

IWPR’s Tajikistan radio editor Zebo Tajibaeva looks at the effects that continuing regional disputes over energy and gas are having on the country.

Friday, 19 June, 2009
This month, Uzbekistan reduced the volume of gas it supplies to Tajikistan because unpaid debts are piling up.



Tajik politicians like Communist Party leader Shodi Shabdolov believe it is unfair that those Central Asia countries with commodities like oil and gas can trade them at world market prices, whereas Tajikistan, which does not have such resources but does have massive water reserves because of its mountain terrain, is unable to charge its neighbours for this most precious of assets.



Desperate for energy sources to keep their economies and their populations going, the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan want to harness the power of their rivers by building new hydroelectric schemes. However, these plans are strongly opposed by downstream states like Uzbekistan which fear that new dams would block off the flow of water, crucial to their agriculture sectors given their arid climates.



Analysts from across Central Asia who attended a recent IWPR event in Dushanbe talked about possible compromise solutions where no state would lose out.



Suhrob Sharipov, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Tajikistan, says the clock is ticking on Central Asian water issues.



“Whether we want to or not, the reality is that we really have to find a way out of this situation…. otherwise it will certainly have catastrophic consequences for the region and maybe even the entire world,” he said.

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