Amu Darya


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The Amu Darya Basin is part of / comprises: · Arab States · Asia & Pacific · Central Asia · Europe & CIS · Middle East ·
Countries sharing the Amu Darya Basin: · Afghanistan · Iran · Tajikistan · Turkmenistan · Uzbekistan ·
Facts & Figures edit
Catchment AreaA 534,739 km3
Neighbouring BasinsA
Population DensityA 39 /km2
DischargeA km3/yr
Surface Area m3
Average Depth m
Water Volume m2
Water Stress m3/person/year
Average Precipitation mm/yr
Evaporation mm/yr
Runoff mm/yr
Land Use
Irrigated Area km2
Irrigable Area km2
No. of DamsA
Dam Density dams/km2
Total Water Withdrawals km3
  For Agricultural Use
  For Domestic Use
  For Industrial Use
Renewable Water Available (m3/yr/pers)
References & Remarks
A Transboundary Freshwater Spatial Database, Oregon University

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps

Latest 4 maps for / including Amu Darya (more..):



Water Basin Profile: Physical and Hydrological Characteristics

The Amudarya is the biggest river in Central Asia. Its length from the effluents of Pyandzh river is 2540 km, catchment area is 309 thousands km2 (without taking into account the Zeravshan river catchment). It is called the Amudarya when the Pyandzh river interflows with the Vaksh river. Three large right tributaries (Kafirnigan, Surhandarya and Sherabad) and one left (Kunduz) flow into the Amudarya river within the middle reach. Further up to the Aral Sea it has not any tributary. It is fed largely by water from melted snow, thus maximum discharges are observed in summer and minimum ones in January-February. Such availability of the flow within a year is very favorable to use water of the river for irrigation. While passing the plain, from Kerky to Nukus Amudarya losses the most part of its flow in form of evaporation, infiltration and withdrawal for irrigation. Concerning sediment transport the Amudarya is the first among all rivers in Central Asia and in the top in the world. The main flow of the Amudarya river is originating on the territory of Tajikistan (about 72.8% - without Zeravshan river). Then, the river flows along the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, then it flows across Turkmenistan territory and again it returns to Uzbekistan, where it discharges into the Aral Sea. About 14.6% of Amudarya water is formed on the Afghan territory and in Iran. About 8.5% of the Amudarya flow is formed in Uzbekistan.

The main specifics of the Amudarya river basin is that the most territories with favorable natural and economic conditions for irrigated farming are located far from the main river and their available water sources are very limited. These are Karshi Steppe, Bukhara region, southern part of Turkmenistan. To provide water delivery for development of those territories unique canal systems were constructed.

The delta zone of the Amudarya lies downstream from Nukus city. It constitutes a slightly sloping plain with many channels. The delta as such is formed by numerous arms (Taldyk, Kazakhdarya, etc.). Its area totals about 7,000 km2. Starting from the mid 1960s the surface flow of the Amudarya stopped reaching the Aral Sea in dry years. As a result of decreased water flow into the delta and retreat of the coastal line of the sea, about 50 water bodies (lakes) have dried up. However, in result of water saving policy during last 8 years, some water releases into a few lake systems as Kungrad, Sudocye, Mezhdurechye, Karadzhar, Togouztour, Daukempir, Kazahdarya, Dautkol and Atpetk, a total of 99,000 ha in the delta zone, have been gradually restored.

Water Basin Profile: Socio-Economic and Environmental Issues

Amu Darya Schematic
Amu Darya Schematic

More than 35 reservoirs were constructed in the Amudarya basin with a capacity of over 10 million m3 each. The aggregate capacity of these water reservoirs exceeds 29.8 km3. The Amudarya cascade of reservoirs operates according to specific scheme, allowing regulation by two main river channel reservoirs (Nurek and Tuyamuyun) and several on-system reservoirs on the Karakum, Karshi and Amu-Bukhara canals and small rivers. Total capacity of reservoirs on the main river is about 17 km3. The principle scheme of flow regulation regime along the Amudarya is as following. The Nurek water reservoir provides multi-year water storage for area up to Kerki gauging station. Water releases depend on run-off variations of the Pyandj, Kafirnigan, Surkhandarya and Kunduz rivers, and water demands of downstream area from Kerki. Tuyamuyun reservoir is operating with a seasonal regime. It catches over released water from the Nurek reservoir and some additional flow of the Amudarya. Releases from it start usually in February-March.

As level regime in the river is very important issue for providing of the required withdrawal to the main canals, their intakes schedule should be agreed with releases from the Nurek reservoir. Intake to the Karakum canal executes during low flow, and vs, to the Karshi and Amu-Bukhara – during high flow along the river. BWO is responsible for monitoring these processes in linkage with water storage in the Nurek and Tuyamuyun reservoirs.

On-system reservoirs are playing role of seasonal water storage (unconsumed autumn-winter flow). Some of them were constructed within the cascades of pumping stations: Talimardjan reservoir on the Karshi canal with a capacity of 1.5 km3, Tudakul and Kuyumazar reservoirs on the Amu-Bukhara canal. The same and also as sediment regulator – Hauskhan reservoir on the Karakum canal with capacity of 0.9 km3. A few water reservoirs were constructed on the small rivers. These are South Surkhan reservoir on the Surkhandarya river with total capacity of 800 million m3, reservoirs on the Tedjen and the Murgab rivers, and 14 small reservoirs in the Kashkadarya river basin with total capacity about 1.5 km3.

Upon commissioning, the future Ragun reservoir on the Vakhsh river may increase the degree of multi-year regulation of the Amudarya up to 0.86. Today it is about 0.76. At existing reservoir capacities, the guaranteed yield of water in low water years (90 percent probability) may reach up to 62 km3. However, in the past seven years, the irrigation-and-hydropower mode of operation for which the reservoirs were designed has sharply changed in favor of hydropower. In spite of the Nurek reservoir is currently operating in the hydropower mode the capacity of the Tuyamuyum reservoir is enough for compensation those changes in flow regime.

Water Basin Profile: Transboundary Political and Institutional Setting

Joint Bodies

ICWC of Central Asia was established in 1992. ICWC and its bodies are part of the IFAS - International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, set up in 1993.

Major challenges and perspectives for cooperation

There is a need to raise the efficiency of participation in ICWC activities of authorities in addition to water management authorities. There are suggestions to pay more attention to implementation of such tasks as ensuring water quality, implementation of environmental programmes, and protection of groundwaters.

Central Asian countries have developed a rather complicated scheme of institutions dealing with water resources. However, there are problems in coordination and exchange of information between the structural elements of this scheme. In 2008, the ICWC adopted new ICWC Regulations and a charter on the rotation of executive bodies of ICWC and their leadership.

Water Basin Profile: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for the Future


Recently updated articles on Amu Darya
  1. Image:Wegerich 2009 Shifting to hydrological boundaries.PDF ‎(1,183 views) . . Aigerim D
  2. Amu Darya/Maps ‎(1,517 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Amu Darya/articles ‎(1,418 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Amu Darya/projects ‎(1,483 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Amu Darya/publications ‎(1,388 views) . . WikiBot
  6. Amu Darya/who is who ‎(1,823 views) . . WikiBot
  7. Image:CA TarnsboundaryBasins WB.jpg ‎(1,695 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann
  8. Image:Amudarya schematic CAREWIB.gif ‎(1,418 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann
  9. Image:Amudarya basin morphology envsec.jpg ‎(1,332 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann

See the complete list of WaterWiki articles on Amu Darya

Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Amu Darya

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

  1. Central Asia – Regional and National Water Sector Review ‎(19,876 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann
  2. Amu Darya Water Quality Assessment and Management ‎(6,409 views) . . WikiBot

Case studies in or about Amu Darya

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Amu Darya


5 most recently updated publications on Amu Darya
  1. WB 2004 - Water Resource Development in Northern Afghanistan and Its Implications for Amu Darya Basin ‎(2,430 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Water, Climate, and Development Issues in the Amudarya Basin ‎(3,073 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Original:ST. PETERSBURG STATEMENT ON THE ARAL SEA ‎(3,217 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Water Strategy Meets Local Reality ‎(2,320 views) . . Aigerim D
  5. Shifting to hydrological boundaries – The politics of implementation in the lower Amu Darya Basin ‎(3,556 views) . . Aigerim D

5 most popular publications on Amu Darya
  1. Shifting to hydrological boundaries – The politics of implementation in the lower Amu Darya Basin ‎(3,556 views) . . Aigerim D
  2. Hydro-hegemony in the Amu Darya Basin ‎(3,321 views) . . Aigerim D
  3. Original:ST. PETERSBURG STATEMENT ON THE ARAL SEA ‎(3,217 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Water, Climate, and Development Issues in the Amudarya Basin ‎(3,073 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. St. Petersburg Statement on the Aral Sea ‎(2,571 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Amu Darya

Who is Who

People working in Amu Darya

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See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Amu Darya

Organizations working in Amu Darya
  1. SIC ICWC ‎(6,491 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. ICWC ‎(5,628 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Amu Darya


See also

External Resources

Mean total annual water run-off

Irrigated area by country

Water Management Infrastructure

Water Losses

Nurek reservoir (Russian only)

River section Nurek - Tyuyamuyun (Russian only)

Tyuyamuyun reservoir (Russian only)

River section Tyuyamuyun - Samanbay (Russian only)

Water Demand
The actual water use and prospective requirements within the Amudarya River Basin (million m3)
(Source: CAREWIB)

On-line data on water intake allowances in the Amudarya river basin for vegetation period 2008 (Apr - Sep'08), m3/sec
(Source: CAREWIB)

On-line data on water intake allowances in the Amudarya river basin for non-vegetation period 2007/2008 (Oct'07 - Mar'08), m3/sec
(Source: CAREWIB)

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