08ASTANA2567, KAZAKHSTAN: WATER RESOURCE COMMITTEE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2567 2008-12-30 10:16 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6848
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2567/01 3651016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301016Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4234
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0985
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0385
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1091
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0557
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0460
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1054

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002567 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB/ESC, OES/PCI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ENRG SENV KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN: WATER RESOURCE COMMITTEE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN 
DISCUSSES WATER SITUATION 
 
REF: ASTANA 02156 
 
ASTANA 00002567  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2. (SBU) SUMMARY:  Ministry of Agriculture Water Resource Committee 
Deputy Chairman Amirkhan Kenshimov highlighted the recent political 
agreement by the five Central Asian presidents on water use and 
energy delivery for the winter of 2008 and the first quarter of 
2009.  The related water-use protocol included provisions to 
increase the water level of the Toktogul water reservoir in 
Kyrgyzstan and agreement between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to 
provide Kyrgyzstan with coal, fuel oil, and gas to permit Kyrgyzstan 
to produce electricity at its thermal power plants.  Kazakhstan 
President Nazarbayev's interstate Water Energy Consortium 
Initiative, designed to manage the combined issues of energy and 
water, is slowly "making progress," According to Kenshimov.  The 
government launched the construction of the Koksaray Water Reservoir 
in southern Kazakhstan on June 25 with the goal to prevent winter 
flooding and increase control over crop irrigation in the dry summer 
seasons.  END SUMMARY. 
 
THE PRESIDENTS' AGREEMENT ON WATER 
 
3. (SBU) Regional Environmental Officer (REO) and Environmental 
Assistant met recently with Ministry of Agriculture Water Resource 
Committee Deputy Chairman Amirkhan Kenshimov, who wanted to 
highlight the October 10 meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (see reftel) 
of the five Central Asian presidents, who reached a political 
agreement on water use and related energy source delivery.  In a 
follow-on meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on October 18-19, the 
deputy prime ministers of the five Central Asian countries signed a 
detailed protocol on the efficient use of common water and energy 
resources in the region for the winter of 2008 and the first quarter 
of 2009.  This particular agreement is unique for Central Asia, 
Kenshimov said, because Turkmenistan had never joined similar 
agreements.  In addition, since 2004, strong disagreements among the 
parties prevented them from signing multilateral water-use 
agreements.  Kenshimov refused to speculate whether Russia used its 
leverage this time to help the parties reach an agreement, but he 
did not deny the possibility. 
 
SUPPORT FOR TOKTOGUL RESERVOIR 
 
4. (SBU) Kenshimov said the water-use protocol included provisions 
to increase the water level of the Toktogul water reservoir in 
Kyrgyzstan, which is the largest water reservoir on the Narin River 
that feeds into the Syr-Darya River through the Toktogul hydropower 
plant, Kyrgyzstan's largest power plant.  The Toktogul Reservoir is 
now dangerously low, he said, estimated at less than eight billion 
cubic meters.  The plan is to raise the water level to 12.5 billion 
cubic meters before spring 2009 so that there would be sufficient 
water for irrigation.  (NOTE:  Toktogul's "dead level" -- the level 
at which the water is so low the turbines must be shut down to 
prevent damage -- is 5.4 billion cubic meters.  Toktogul's maximum 
capacity is 19.5 billion cubic meters.  END NOTE.) 
 
5. (SBU) To increase the water level, Kenshimov said the Toktogul 
hydropower plant will have to significantly reduce its power 
generation this winter.  In the past, Kyrgyzstan would have faced 
acute power shortages.  Under this new protocol, Uzbekistan and 
Kazakhstan have agreed to provide Kyrgyzstan with 300,000 tons of 
coal and 40,000 tons of fuel oil (Kazakhstan) and gas (Uzbekistan) 
so that Kyrgyzstan can produce electricity at its thermal power 
plants to compensate for the loss of power from Toktogul. 
 
NAZARBAYEV'S WATER ENERGY CONSORTIUM INITIATIVE 
 
6. (SBU) Kenshimov said Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev's water 
energy consortium idea was "making progress," albeit slowly.  If 
eventually implemented, he said, the water energy consortium would 
be a comprehensive agency combining responsibilities for water and 
energy resource supply and management in Central Asia.  At present, 
the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) is the 
 
ASTANA 00002567  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
highest water decision-making body in the region and the main 
institutional organization for the rational utilization and 
protection of trans-boundary water resources.  However, the ICWC has 
no legal or enforcement powers, and it is not empowered to treat the 
join
tly-linked problems of water and energy.  For instance, 
Kenshimov said the ICWC was not able to address the delivery of 
cheap coal and gas this winter to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from 
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to compensate for reduced power generation 
at the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan hydropower plants.  (COMMENT:  This 
water energy consortium is one of Nazarbayev's pet projects, but 
Uzbekistan's President Karimov refuses to cooperate, in part because 
of personal enmity between the two men, and in part because there is 
a rivalry for regional leadership between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 
 Karimov allegedly sees this consortium as a power play to seize 
regional leadership away from Uzbekistan, which has been the 
traditional and historical leader in Central Asia.  END COMMENT.) 
 
KAZAKHSTAN'S KOKSARAY WATER RESERVOIR 
 
7. (SBU) Kenshimov said that the government of Kazakhstan continues 
to work on the Koksaray Water Reservoir Project in southern 
Kazakshan, launched on June 25.  According to Kenshimov, this 
project has been pending for 10 years and the government finally 
approved it this spring.  Its goal is two-fold:  prevent winter 
flooding in the southern regions and increase control over crop 
irrigation in the dry summer seasons.  (NOTE:  In the absence of the 
Soviet-era management quotas, the energy-poor upstream states of 
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan now commonly release water in the winter 
to generate electricity.  The downstream countries of Kazakhstan and 
Uzbekistan cannot use this winter water for irrigation, which is 
needed in the spring and summer.  As a result, the downstream 
countries endure considerable flooding.  This year alone, floods 
threatened 70 villages in two southern regions of Kazakhstan.  On 
February 20, a huge flood left 13,000 people homeless.  END NOTE.) 
The recent flooding in South Kazakhstan gave a renewed impetus to 
this initiative, Kenshimov said, and the government of Kazakhstan 
finally decided to start construction of the Koksaray water 
reservoir this year. 
 
8.  (SBU) NOTE:  According to some environmentalists, the Koksaray 
Water Reservoir Project is controversial because of its possible 
environmental impact. The reservoir, in southern Kazakhstan, will be 
able to control the flow of the Syr-Darya River.  While reservoir 
construction appears to be a good solution to the problem of 
flooding, some fear it might significantly reduce water flow in the 
Syr-Darya River, resulting in a further reduced flow of water to the 
Aral Sea area and irreversibly harming the climate.  In addition, 
some in Uzbekistan are objecting to this project because it will 
reduce the flow to the Uzbekistan part of the Aidar-Arnasai lake 
system, making Uzbekistan dependent on Kazakhstan's timely releases 
of water to preserve the system's overall natural ecological 
balance.  END NOTE. 
 
HOAGLAND

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