Water Volume Rises in Northern Aral Sea, Hits 21.4 Billion Cubic Meters

ASTANA—The Northern Aral Sea has seen an increase in its water volume, with 1.1 billion cubic meters entering its basin, bringing the total volume to 21.4 billion cubic meters, reported the Kazakh Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on June 24. 

Photo credit: Ministry of Ecology of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

During the 86th meeting of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination, which includes Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, it was agreed that 997 million cubic meters of water would be directed into the Northern Aral Sea throughout the irrigation season, with inflow of at least 30 cubic meters per second. 

At the moment, the sea receives 50 cubic meters of water per second, a notable increase from the previous year’s rate of six cubic meters per second.

Completing the Kokaral dam, which separates the Northern Aral Sea from the southern part, has played a crucial role in boosting water levels.

Moldir Abdualiyeva, the ministry’s spokesperson, noted that 46.6 billion cubic meters of water have flowed into the Northern Aral Sea from the Syrdarya River since the dam’s operation began. 

“Over the past seven years, 13.3 billion cubic meters of water have been replenished. In recent years, the volume of water in the Northern Aral has been decreasing. Still, since the beginning of 2024 it has started to grow again, reaching 21.4 billion cubic meters today,” said Abdualiyeva.

The Kyrgyz Republic contributes 75% of the Syrdarya River’s flow, Uzbekistan 20% and Kazakhstan 5%.  

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