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The University of Southampton

Research project: Creation of a network of scientists and engineers for sustainable management of the water resources of the Aral basin

Currently Active: 

A project funded by the EU FP4 Environment Programme

A project funded by the EU FP4 Environment Programme

The objectives of the project were to: 
Create a network of researchers capable of developing and working on water management decision support tools. 

Reach agreement between engineers and researchers of the riparian states on the methodologies to be used in identifying optimum investment strategy for maximum environmental gains for minimum costs;  prepare detailed proposals. 

Produce a demonstration water management program for the Aral Sea and use it to introduce scientists and engineers of the riparian states to modern river basin management tools.

Produce a combined catalogue of the data and information available in the riparian states and Russia.  The catalogue will include information on exactly what information is available, its quality, who holds it, and how it might be obtained. 

Aral workshops

Three regional and international workshops were organised for scientists and engineers of the Aral basin countries, and also Russia, to identify research priorities for the solution of the problems of the Aral basin. The workshops were held in Kzyl Orda on the Syr Darya basin, in Tashkent on the Amu Darya basin, and in Almaty to prepare specific project proposals based on the recommendations of the two regional workshops. These proposals were forwarded to the EU to form a basis for their future research programmes.

Creation of a demonstration water management model for the Syr Darya

The model provides a management tool for the water resources of the Aral Basin. It calculates river flows, reservoir storage and discharge, canal offtakes, irrigation requirements and return drainage flows for the whole of the Syr Darya river on a 6-day cycle over a 20-year period, and shows the effect of different decisions on the volume and level of the Aral Sea. It can be used to study the impact of international water sharing agreements on seasonal availability of water for the riparian nations and for the Aral basin; of improved water management practices and rehabilitation projects on the availability of water in the lower basin; of dam operating conditions on availability and wastage of water; of different crops on availability of water in the lower basin and of different power generation strategies on the availability of water for irrigation.

Aral databases

The third stage involved creation of databases of information sources, experts and publications on the water resources problems of the Aral basin, to be used as a source of information for specialists and agencies working in the region. Since the break-up of the former Soviet Union access to information has become a major problem, and these databases are intended to improve communications and contacts and the flow of necessary data for water resources management in the region


School of Civil Engineering & the Environment, University of Southampton, UK (Soton)

BG Chair of Environmental Technology, AIPET, Kazakhstan

KazMekanobr State Research and Production Association of Industrial Ecology, Kazakhstan

Kazakh Scientific Research Institute for Monitoring Environment and Climate (KazNIIMOSK)

Flynn & Rothwell Consulting Engineers, Ireland

Related research groups

Water and Environmental Engineering Group
The retreating Aral Sea has left this former port kilometres inland
The retreating Aral Sea
Offake canal at Kzyl-Orda
Offake canal at Kzyl-Orda
Model output showing impact on sea levels
Model output showing impact
Aral Basin Water Management model
Aral Basin Water Management model

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Key Publication

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