World Bank and Kazakhstan Plan Further Improvements in the Northern Aral Sea Area
July 10, 2014
KYZYLORDA, July 10, 2014 - During the visit to Kyzylorda region, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha and Vice-Minister of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yerlan Nyssanbayev discussed opportunities for continued cooperation for realization of the second phase of the Syr Darya Control and Northern Aral Sea Project.
The first phase of the Syr Darya Control and Northern Aral Sea Project (SYNAS-1) brought impressive positive results. The project focused on the most urgent investments needed to reduce water losses in the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea basin and allow more fresh water to flow into in the Northern Aral Sea. Construction of the 13-km Kok-Aral Dam in 2005 brought benefits which exceeded the project expectations: the volume of the Northern Aral Sea raised by 68 percent as early as by 2008; the project has also brought other impressive results such as reduction of salinity by half, increased fish production by more than 3 times, improved flora and fauna, and, most importantly, the return of the local population who started to engage again in income generating activities, mainly fishing.
"Implementation of the second phase of the project will help improve further the environmental and economic conditions along the Syr Darya and the Northern Aral Sea. Today, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan is working to attract the loan from the World Bank to finance the second phase of this project," said Yerlan Nyssanbayev, Vice-Minister of of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
In his turn, World Bank Country Director for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha expressed the Bank’s commitment to support Kazakhstan in the implementation of the second phase of the Syr Darya Control and and Northern Aral Sea Project (SYNAS-2).
"The project will focus on integrated water resources management in the lower Syr Darya basin, which would require a number of infrastructural interventions involving state-of-the-art modeling and rehabilitation works, and strengthening the institutional capacity in water management -- these efforts will ultimately result in the improved welfare of the population in the Northern Aral Sea region," emphasized Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia.
The planned five-year project SYNAS-2 will help improve public health, and enhance human safety through the reduced frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts thus contributing to the environmental sustainability of the region. The improved water supply will increase fisheries production, as well as facilitate crop and livestock production to the benefit of the population living around the Northern Aral Sea.
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