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Kyrgyzstan Discharged 116 Million Cubic Meters of Polluted Wastewater Into Water Bodies Last Year

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan

Some 116 million cubic meters of polluted wastewater were discharged into surface water bodies in Kyrgyzstan last year, the country’s National Statistics Committee said last week.

Citing the Agriculture Ministry’s Department of Water Management and Land Reclamation, the committee ALSO noted that about 9,942 million cubic meters of water had been withdrawn from water bodies in Kyrgyzstan last year, of which about 92 percent was used for agriculture.

Upstream Kyrgyszstan is the richest of all the Central Asian countries in terms of water resources. More than 3,500 rivers originate in its territory, almost all of them part of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya basins.

At the same time, the country’s deteriorated irrigation systems and inefficient water use have led to soil degradation. Agricultural canals and drainage networks have degenerated due to lack of funding for maintenance and repair.

The World Bank has previously reported that the country’s budget provided only 25-30 percent of the amount required to maintain this infrastructure. Deteriorated irrigation and drainage networks have caused a decline in irrigated land use and water use efficiency.

Water from rivers in the country is polluted. In December, Kyrgyz authorities reported that Kumtor Gold Company poses a danger to water supply in the basins of the Kumtor and Naryn rivers and may trigger an environmental catastrophe in the region.

Kumtor Gold is owned by the Canadian mining company Centerra Gold.