Situated in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is a landlocked state.  With a land area of 2,717,300 km2, it is the ninth largest country in the world and the largest and northernmost of the five Central Asian countries. The vast territory of the country extends 3,000 km west to east – from the Volga River and Caspian Sea to the Altai Mountains – and 1,700 km north to south – from the South Ural Mountains and West Siberian Plains to the Kyzylkum Desert and Tian Shan Mountains (UNECE, 2008).

The climate is continental with cold winters and hot summers. The country is very rich in natural resources and possesses major deposits of e.g. petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper and uranium.

Key Water Issues and Challenges

Kazakhstan has embarked on a modernization of water policy based on integrated management of water resources. In 2003, a new Water Code was adopted. The country defined eight river basins over its territory, established river basin organizations (RBOs) in each of them, and signed a number of international agreements on transboundary river basins.

  • The reform in the water sector, launched in 2003, has not yet been accompanied by the strengthening of administration. As 2011, the various institutions in charge of specific aspects of water management (e.g. protection of the environment, agriculture use, groundwater extraction and water-quality monitoring) do not coordinate their work properly.
  • There are many challenges in water infrastructure development, both at municipal and industrial water users.
  • Industrial activities, in particular heavy industries with historic pollution, together with urban wastewater, remain the largest sources of pollution.
  • The use of available water resources is wasteful and uneconomical. Inefficient irrigation practices, deteriorating irrigation infrastructure and the lack of drainage contribute to water waste and the salinization of irrigated lands.

Contact GWP Kazakhstan

Mr. Vadim Sokolov, vadimsokolovicwc@gmail.com; Regional Coordinator

More Information

AQUASTAT -FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/main/index.stm

UN-Water Statistics http://www.unwater.org/statistics_KWIP.html

Source: www.cia.gov; http://data.worldbank.org; www.unwater.org

Posted: 2012-07-24

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