Açıq mənbələrdən foto

Açıq mənbələrdən foto

In recent days, water shortages in the country have become very serious. I must note that Azerbaijan's water resources are 32 billion cubic meters. 70% of it is formed due to water coming from neighboring countries (mainly the Kura and Araz rivers), and 30% is formed within the country. Kura, Araz, and the inland rivers of Azerbaijan derive their water from rainfall in the mountains, melting snow and glaciers, and groundwater. The water of the Kura reaches its maximum level in April and falls to its minimum level in September. The water level in the Araz river reaches a maximum in May and a minimum in August.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), “by 2040, one-fifth of the world's countries will have low water levels. Such that climate change disrupts the cycle of precipitation, and population growth increases the demand for water.” According to a report by the World Resources Institute, Azerbaijan is among the countries facing the threat of drought. Azerbaijan ranks 18th out of 33 countries. This does not mean that we will experience the same problems as neighboring countries in times of low water levels. The problem is that the country has 7-8 times more water resources than it needs but the need for drinking water and irrigation water is not met. Azerbaijan's ranking 18th place on the list is dangerous because the country's water loss is extremely high.

According to the norm set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the daily norm of drinking and household water per capita is 450 liters. According to international standards, the population of Azerbaijan should drink water and be provided with domestic water in the amount of 1.6 billion cubic meters a year. In Azerbaijan, the water supply was 5.3 times less, i.e. 306 million cubic meters (Table 1). This means 83 liters of water per capita per day, which is 5.3 times less than the international norm.

Table 1. It is prepared based on the information of the CEC and Amelioration and Water Management OJSC. The volume of water is given in million cubic meters

Water from natural resources - total16,17611,11011,56612,847
Water consumption - total12,4776,5887,7159,205
for domestic and drinking purposes402449405306
    for production needs3,4182,3161,7422,111
       drinking water from them317825444
for irrigation and agricultural supply8,6273,8195,4976,722
Volume of water used periodically and consistently1,6281,8751,7872,345
for production needs in proportion to total water consumption (%)32455153
Water lost during transportation4,2063,0533,8513,643
Water loss (%)  33.228.3

For many years, farmers and villagers have been complaining that their water needs are not being met. Lack of irrigation water poses very serious problems for agricultural production. The volume of irrigated lands in the country is 1.4 million hectares. I should also note that in recent years, the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, which use the water of the Kura and Araz rivers, are expanding irrigated arable land to produce more agricultural products. Such that Georgia's demand for water has increased by 2 billion cubic meters, Azerbaijan’s by 1.2 billion cubic meters, and Armenia’s by 1 billion cubic meters. This created an additional 4.2 billion cubic meters of water in the region. Of course, in order to meet the food needs of the Azerbaijani population, it is necessary to produce more agricultural products. As a result of global climate change, a 1-degree rise in air temperature over the past 20 years has made it difficult to grow agricultural products in dry farming conditions. Therefore, the provision of more arable land with irrigation water has become an important factor. However, unfortunately, the existing problems in the field, which have not been resolved for a long time, hinder the implementation of such measures. Water resources are not used efficiently in the country, and in this case, the expansion of irrigated areas leads to more water loss. According to the statistics provided by the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan on water from natural resources, its consumption and loss, Azerbaijan ranks first in water loss with 28% among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Water loss in other CIS countries: 20% in Armenia, 13% in Kazakhstan, 12% in Ukraine, 10% in Russia, 7% in Moldova, and 5% in Belarus. Obsolete irrigation systems are the main cause of water losses. The main canals on the balance of the Amelioration and Water Resources Open Joint-Stock Company were also built during the Soviet era. Such that the Upper Karabakh canal and the Upper Shirvan canal were commissioned in 1958, the Samur-Absheron canal in 1940, the Bash-Mughan canal in 1960, and the Bash Mil canal in 1976.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is not able to use existing water resources efficiently. Rainwater harvesting is not organized in the country. Rainwater and a part of river water when there is an abundance of water in the rivers can be stored in special reservoirs and used in summer for irrigation or as drinking water. Existing reservoirs and lakes have been seized by oligarchic officials and used for other purposes. Farmers and villagers are not allowed to use the water collected in these lakes. In-farm reservoirs remaining from the Soviet era have become unusable because they have not been repaired for a long time.

Despite the fact that the Takhtakorpu and Shamkirchay reservoirs, which were completed due to large-scale investments, were put into operation several years ago, there has been no positive change in the supply of irrigation water in agriculture over the years. On the contrary, water shortages have recently become more acute in the country. Despite the fact that more than 700 million AZN was spent on the construction of Shamkirchay reservoirs. The investment in the Takhtakorpu reservoir was 1 billion AZN. About 50,000 hectares of arable land were projected to be irrigated with these reservoirs.

Inefficiency and inefficient government activities are obvious. Although government officials often say that the length of irrigation canals and the number of reservoirs in the country are large, in fact, the presence of these facilities does not facilitate the solution of water problems of farmers and villagers. On the contrary, every year we witness the drowning of young people and children in irrigation canals and lakes and tragic events. Of course, such cases create a picture of the fact that there is an abundance of water in the country but water is not available to farmers and villagers.

As mentioned above, Kura, Araz, and the inland rivers of Azerbaijan derive their water from rainfall in the mountains, melting snow and glaciers, and groundwater. The reality is that global warming has reduced seasonal snowfall in the region. There is no snowfall in the mountains in Azerbaijan in the winter months as in previous years. Of course, water is a creature that never disappears, it circulates in nature. In the past, a part of the water that had evaporated turned to snow in the air and returned to the ground, but now it returns in the form of more intense rains. In the past, snowfall in the winter months led to the formation of glaciers at the height of the mountains and the expansion of glacial areas, the accumulation of more water resources. In recent years, water resources have decreased due to low snowfall in the mountains. Therefore, especially in the summer months, we observe a decrease in water levels in rivers. In autumn and spring, we see heavy rains, which are long-lasting and intense.

The problem of freshwater shortage has become a topical issue not only in the region but also in the world. International experience shows that some countries have managed to solve the problem of water shortage by preventing wasteful use of irrigation water. For example, while Israel used 1.24 billion cubic meters of irrigation water at the end of the last century, its government has reduced the amount of irrigation water used to 1.12 billion cubic meters in recent years through the use of new modern technology. Using just that much irrigation water, Israel not only meets 95 percent of the population's food needs through domestic production but also exports $ 1.5 billion worth of food and agricultural products. Imagine that the volume of water taken from a natural water source in Azerbaijan is 12.8 billion cubic meters, while in Israel this figure is 1.12 billion cubic meters. Israel, which has four times less arable land and uses 10 times less irrigation water than Azerbaijan, provides 95 percent of its food in accordance with international standards and exports $ 1.5 billion worth of agricultural products annually. Azerbaijan, with its vast resource potential, produces 2 times fewer food products per capita than Israel and exports 2 times fewer food products.

Another problem is the lack of centralized coordination of the country's water management. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Azerenergy OJSC, Amelioration and Water Management OJSC perform certain functions in this area.

I think that the government should take a number of urgent steps to address the existing problems in this area. 1) First of all, a special state program should be developed to improve the water management system. 2) In order to ensure the centralized coordination of the water management system, one of the Deputy Prime Ministers should be responsible for the sector. 3) In order to meet the needs of agriculture for irrigation water in a sustainable and loss-free manner, the transfer of water to the fields through metal and plastic pipes should be organized. 4) In order to prevent water loss in irrigated arable lands, it is necessary to start the rapid introduction of cost-effective irrigation techniques and advanced irrigation technologies in all farms.


Vahid Magerramov

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