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Water Division in Central Asia


Solution on the Problem of Conflict to Water Division through Computer Simulation and Developing Optimal Scenarios of Water Use in Central Asia Transboundry Basins

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Mathematics, Tajikistan, Dushanbe

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Water Problems, Hydro-Power Engineering and Ecology, Tajikistan, Dushanbe


  • Politecnico di Milano / Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Italy, Milan

Project summary

The last decade the water-resource pision of transboundry rivers became the subject of heated scientific and political discussions on various levels. Each party participating in debates can cite numerous arguments in favour of his point of view. The problem of water-resource pision especially sharp announces in Central Asia immediately after collapsing the Soviet Union and forming five independent sovereign republics that led to changing legal status of majority watercourses in the region.

Upstream countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) located in the zone of flow formation try to maximize utilizing water resources for hydropower generation, thereby covering the existing energy deficit in winter. Downstream country (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan), geographically adjacent to the zone of consumption flow, tend to maximize water utilization for irrigated agriculture, the requirements are largely concentrated in the growing season. Such the situation generates the conflict of interests.

Meanwhile the modern world has accumulated many successful experiences to coordinated decisions of inter-state problems, in particular in regulation of the water distribution between countries. As examples we can refer to sharing water resources of Nile, Rhine, Danube, Mekong, Rio Grande and Limpopo river basins and the North American Great Lakes.

However, these agreements are characterized by specific features of their basins, and can not be automatically utilized for different region of the world. Meanwhile, the need to developing common approaches in distribution of transboundry river water resources is continuously increased.

OBJECTIVE: The main objective of the project is to develop a mathematical basis for decision making in problems of water management of transboundry basins of Central Asia. Its water basins, in general, cover territories of several states, each of which wants to use the water, first of all, for their own interests. Each state determines water needs according to a given set of scenarios (energy, irrigation, etc.).

However, a state interest comes into conflict with the similar interests of other states located in the same river basin. It generates a conflict of interests. The aim of the proposal is to develop compromised water allocation between the zones of formation (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) and consumption (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) through creating a mathematical model of the conflict situation, realization of a computer simulation and cultivation of coordinated scenarios to water use, taking into account the interest of upstream and downstream in the basins of Syrdarya and Amudarya transboundry rivers.

Capacity ACTIVITIES Development of a mathematical model based on methods of the conflict resolution through formalizing the notion of water conflict, creating a computer model characterizing the conflict of interests of the parties and then producing acceptable coordinated decision-making scenarios.

Proposed integrated approach to water management of transboundry river basins CAR, which allow scientists and specialists to play different scenarios of water use, taking into account the flow regimes in the upstream and downstream of the basin, matching needs and resources in terms of the regime and with regard to national interests of states. Computer realization of the model with the corresponding interactive interface based on new technologies for graphic visualization, provide experts and decision makers with a quick analysis of the situation, a choice of the optimal scenario for the region progress and with a list of necessary measures to weakening a conflict situation.

As a result of executing the project we have planned:

  1. to characterize on the conceptual level, main problems and contradictions in the management and use of water resources, the existing factors that promote developing a conflict situation and present a list of possible alternatives to solving conflicts in future;
  2. to create a mathematical model, describing a conflict between the zones of forming and using water resources,
  3. to create methods of finding compromise solutions to water distribution.
  4. to generate for analyzing various scenarios of water use permitted in the basins.

In the project the following measures will be realized:
  • analysis of existing problems and contradictions, elaboration of alternatives for the water utilization in the Amudarya and Syrdarya river basins;
  • formalization of the notion of conflict between states of the transboundry basin in management and use of water resources;
  • developing a mathematical model describing the conflict of interests, allowing to find compromise solutions in the water distribution between the zones of formation and consumption;
  • creating a computing program complex with the user’s interface for a wide range of people interested in finding a compromise solution between the conflicting zones;
  • preparation of proposals on the best scenarios for water resources use in the basins of Amudarya and Syrdarya to the decision makers (DM).

The proposed fundamental research project corresponds to one of the ISTC, which aims to support projects of scientific, technical and fundamental orientation that promotes international collaboration of scientists and experts join forces to address the global challenges of the world. The desire to find compromise solutions to conflict situations related to water, by means of mathematical science is an important task that can unite the countries of the region with different levels of economic development for the benefit of the overall mutual cooperation on water resources of a transboundry basin.

In implementation of the project highly skilled specialists of Institute of Mathematics, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology of Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan and also scientists from Institute of Politecnico Di-Milano (Italy), with extensive experience in research in mathematical modeling, optimal control theory, decision theory, control of dynamic systems and systems analysis are attracted.