Water resources and water usage in Central Asia

The territorial distribution of water resources in the Aral Sea Basin is very unequal. While the lowlands of the basin are characterised by deserts and semi-deserts, precipitation increases in the mountains, while the high mountains with their glaciers and permafrost areas serve as the «water towers» of the region. On average, 43% of the annual discharge in the basin originates in Tajikistan, 24% in Kyrgyzstan, and approximately 19% in Afghanistan. However, the pattern of water usage is quite the opposite. The upstream mountain states use only about 17% of the water, while downstream Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan use 83%.[Giese et al 2004. Due to lack of data, water abstraction and flow generation in Afghanistan is not included in this figure.]
Water withdrawal and availability in the Aral Basin