700,000 South Kazakhstan inhabitants to be provided with drinking water

ASTANA – Forty moraine lakes have been identified in the highland areas of the South Kazakhstan region which, due to their melting and the Ugam River, are expected to provide drinking water to 700,000 people living in the Kazygurt, Maktaaral and Saryagash districts. The assessment was made at an altitude of 3,340-3,500 metres through an aero-visual survey of moraine lakes and rivers in the Ugam range of the Aksu Mountains, said South Kazakhstan Akim (Governor) Zhanseit Tuimebayev.

“Preliminary negotiations with Uzbekistan were held as well and agreements on the joint use of water were reached,” he noted. “From a scientific point of view, there is a need to correctly plan this project aimed at supplying drinking water.”

A helicopter with Tuimebayev aboard flew around Badam Lake and the mountainous areas of the Tolebi and Tulkubas districts, allowing him to monitor the moraine lakes. He also chaired a meeting with Uzbek representatives at a high-altitude lake to discuss issues related to flood water prevention, constructing additional small water reservoirs and efficient use of the Ugam River waters.

Regional emergency situations department head Nurbolat Derbisov elaborated on measures taken to prevent floods.

“Protective dams are installed in the territory of rivers and lakes in the region, the length of which is 86.95 km. Their security is under strictly control,” he said.

South Kazakhstan Kazselezaschita department head Yerbol Alzak spoke about the current state of moraine lakes in mountainous areas.

“This year, one aero-visual and four ground-based research works were carried out in the territory of the South Kazakhstan region in the Karzhantau, Ugam and Maidantal mountain ranges. Based on the results of the studies, the moraine lakes of the mountainous areas were found not to be dangerous,” he said.

Thirty-two million tenge (US$95,412) was allocated from the regional budget this year for aero-visual work, 19 million (US$56,651) of which has been disbursed to date.

During the meeting, Tuimebayev provided instructions to the heads of the relevant departments on floodwater prevention and control on the current state of rivers, lakes and glacial lakes in the foothills. He asked them to keep the issues of supplying drinking water from Ugam River to the three districts under strict control.

“Every year in the spring time there is a threat of flooding in our region. In this regard, we are planning the construction of 30 small reservoirs next year. In addition, we use the water of the Ugam River for drinking water,” he said.

“There is also a need to build a hydroelectric power station in the riverbed and conduct water pipes from the tops of the mountains. At the same time, I instruct scientists and specialists in this field to carry out thorough work, as well as to implement the construction of this project in a high-quality and efficient manner,” he added.