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Latest 4 maps for / including Kazakhstan (more..):
Kazakhstan is part of:
Asia & Pacific · Central Asia · Europe & CIS ·
Water Basins of Kazakhstan:
Aral Sea · Caspian · Chu-Talas · Ferghana Valley · Ili-Balkhash · Nura · Ob · Oral-Ural · Pu Lun To · Syr Darya · Ural · Vahksh · Volga ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Astana
Neighbouring Countries China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Total Area 2,717,300 km2
  - Water 47,500 km2 (1.75%) / 175 m2/ha
  - Land 2,669,800 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 14,825,110 (5.4 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.807 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 33.9 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $141,200 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $12,000
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 222,394 km2 (8.33%)
     - Arable 221,059 km2 (8.28%)
     - Permanent Crops 1,335 km2 (0.05%)
     - Irrigated 35,560 km2
  - Non cultivated 207 km2 (91.67%)
Average Annual RainfallD 250 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 109.6 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 35 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 82%
  - For Domestic Use 2%
  - For Industrial Use 17%
  - Per Capita 2,328 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 86%
     - Urban population 97%
     - Rural population 73%
  - Improved Sanitation 72%
     - Urban population 87%
     - Rural population 52%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends



Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Deserts and steppes account for more than 80 percent of the total territory of Kazakhstan. Four major hydrologic regions can be found, each distinguished by the final destination of the water: the Arctic Ocean through the Ob River, the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea and internal lakes, depressions or deserts. Incoming waters (from other countries) account for about one third of the country's total water resources. Given it's importance, several international agreements have been put into effect to govern the allocation of water resources.

The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world. In the last decade, it has risen by about 2 metres, which has resulted in waterlogging in towns and villages, and the loss of agricultural land. By contrast, the Aral Sea has receded, mainly due to irrigation development upstream. This has resulted in environmental problems, which have been tentatively addressed by the Central Asia Interstate Commission on Water Coordination.

Of the approximately 100 cubic kilometers of average annual water resources flowing through Kazakhstan, almost one half is generated outside the country and arrives across international boundaries. Kazakhstan is also an upstream riparian, with obligations to ensure suffieicnt flow crossing its border into Russia. Overall water management is therefore a major transboundary issue.

With total water use at approximately 35 cubic kilometers, Kazakhstan is not water scarce as such, but uneven geographical distribution and highly inefficient water use creates water shortages in many regions of the country. The problem is therefore not one of resources, but rather one of management. Water shortages creat a serious threat to health, to sustainable development and to the environmental protection of the country.

Water quality in practically all the water bodies remains unsatisfactory, despite continued decrease in production and volumes of wastewater. Pollution of groundwater is widespread and the provision of high quality drinking water is often problematic. In addition, Kzakhstan is seeing an increase in infectuous diseases as a result of unclean water.Surface water is mainly used for agriculture, while groundwater and desalinated water are mainly used for drinking water. Given the vast deserts that cover Kazakhstan, irrigation forms an important part of agricultural production. Wheat, cotton, rice and potatoes are the major exports crops. Much of the irrigation is inefficient due to water losses and unavailable funds to upgrade the irrigation systems. Over the last half century, intensive development of irrigated agriculture in the Central Asian Region led to the destruction of the Aral Sea, perhaps the greatest environmental disaster in history. Over the last decade considerable international attention has been given to the Aral Sea problem with little measurable success. The Aral Sea is an international problem for which an international solution is necessary. There are now some concerns for Lake Balkash, in the east of Kazakhstan, with the potential for a catastrophe similar to the Aral Sea in the making.

Over 80 percent of households in Kazakhstan have piped water connections in their houses. However, water supply service is weak, both in quantity and quality. Water and wastewater services in the urban centers are provided by water and wastewater enterprises (vodokanals).

In 1993, the central government decentralized the responsibility for the water and wastewater sector to municipalities and phased out operating and capital subsidies to the sector. As a result, all vodokanals are required to be self-financing. In this new environment, they have struggled to cover operations and maintenance costs. Their financial situation is extremely difficult and many of them cannot raise tariffs sufficiently and are able to survive only by delaying payments to their suppliers, particularly the energy suppliers.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

UNDP Kazakhstan has extensive experience in water governance and are pioneers globally in terms of Integrated Water Resources Management. The ongoing National Integrated Water Resource Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan is working to improve capacity in water resources management. One of the main initiatives is establishing River Basin Councils to Kazakhstan which are the stakeholder component of the overall water management and decision making picture. River Basin Councils were initially introduced in Kazakhstan in the new Water Code of 2003. The first of eight RBCs has now been successfully established in the Balkash-Alakol River Basin and the remaining seven are scheduled to be in place by the middle of 2006.

From 2002- 2005, no regulator was responsible for setting water tariffs (or managing water resources). Currently (Nov 05), Kazakhstan is in the process of amending the 2003 Water Code and/or the Law on Urban WSS. The management responsibility shall be (left) on the municipal level, while the central government will have a coordination role, overseeing the methodological approach, etc. In Kazakhstan, the avarage tariff for DW is EUR 0.22/M3. The tariffs are set by the National anti-monopoly agency, including a large public hearing process.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

The Water Code, adopted on 31 March 1993, provides the framework for the regulation of domestic, industrial and agricultural water use, ensuring the respect of requirements to preserve the environmental. It also opens the way for the introduction of a market economy in irrigated agriculture, since it allows the creation of water-user associations at the inter-farm level and the privatization of the district water organizations.

In recent years, Kazakhstan has become very concerned about water quality. On the international level, the country has been collaborating with the Russian Federation on this issue for the Irtysh, Ishim, Tobol and Ural rivers. Kazakhstan is also working with Azerbaijan, Iran and the Russian Federation on the Caspian Sea waters. Other important international water agreements have been with Kyrgyzstan, namely under the Chu-Tallas River Basin commission.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


Recently updated articles on Kazakhstan
  1. Kazakhstan - Working Paper on the National Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan ‎(4,111 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Stakeholder Participation in River Basin Councils - Kazakhstan ‎(7,227 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Kazakhstan/articles ‎(1,530 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Kazakhstan/publications ‎(1,520 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Kazakhstan/projects ‎(2,229 views) . . WikiBot
  6. Kazakhstan/Maps ‎(1,073 views) . . WikiBot
  7. Kazakhstan/who is who ‎(1,747 views) . . WikiBot
  8. Status and importance of water-relevant international legal instruments for the 5 Central Asian countries ‎(5,321 views) . . Katy.norman
  9. Image:Ural ENVSEC.jpg ‎(1,983 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann
  10. Image:Caspian CC Natural Hazards ENVSEC.jpg ‎(1,244 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann

See the complete list of WaterWiki articles on Kazakhstan

Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Kazakhstan

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

  1. East-Caspian Assessment of Environment and Security Linkages and Impact ‎(3,220 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Promoting IWRM and Fostering Transboundary Dialogue in Central Asia ‎(18,883 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan ‎(23,552 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Integrated Conservation of Priority Globally Significant Migratory Bird Wetland Habitat: A Demonstration on Three Sites ‎(3,667 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. Regional Research Network Water in Central Asia (CAWa) ‎(4,612 views) . . Katy Unger-Shayesteh
  6. Harmonization and Approximation of Water Standards and Norms in Central Asia ‎(4,314 views) . . Katy.norman
  7. Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe ‎(3,007 views) . . Katy.norman
  8. Assisting local authorities and local communities in creation and proving water basin councils activity in Kazakhstan ‎(2,693 views) . . Katy.norman
  9. Promoting Cooperation to Adapt to Climate Change in the Chu-Talas Transboundary Basin ‎(4,771 views) . . Katy.norman
  10. A comprehensive study on glacial melting in Central Asia ‎(2,284 views) . . Katy.norman
  11. Central Asia – Regional and National Water Sector Review ‎(19,811 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann
  12. The Swiss Support to Hydro-meteorological Services in the Aral Sea basin Project ‎(2,794 views) . . WikiBot
  13. Capacity Building of Water Users for Sustainable Development in the Aral Sea Basin ‎(5,956 views) . . WikiBot
  14. CEP/Grants Projects ‎(5,527 views) . . WikiBot
  15. Water-Energy Nexus in Central Asia ‎(2,902 views) . . WikiBot

Case studies in or about Kazakhstan

(by popularity)

  1. Kazakhstan - National Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan ‎(78,823 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan - Formation of a Chu-Talas Rivers Commission ‎(39,864 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Kazakhstan - NGO Zhalgas-Counterpart - Civil Society Support Centre in Almaty ‎(31,685 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Water Conflict and Cooperation/Aral Sea Basin ‎(27,132 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. Experience: The Process of Preparing a National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan ‎(9,828 views) . . WikiBot
  6. Lessons on Cooperation Building to Manage Water Conflicts in the Aral Sea Basin ‎(7,294 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Kazakhstan


5 most recently updated publications on Kazakhstan
  1. Kazakhstan-Interministerial Working Group Meeting Jan 2006 ‎(3,960 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Kazakshtan First Draft National IWRM and WE Plan ‎(5,867 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Water Resources of Kazakhstan in the New Millennium ‎(3,248 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. SD Country Profile ‎(3,720 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. Kazakhstan National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan Concept Note ‎(3,466 views) . . Katy.norman

5 most popular publications on Kazakhstan
  1. Water Conflict and Cooperation/Aral Sea Basin ‎(27,132 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Lessons on Cooperation Building to Manage Water Conflicts in the Aral Sea Basin ‎(7,294 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Kazakshtan First Draft National IWRM and WE Plan ‎(5,867 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Central Asia Regional Environmental Action Plan for Water Pollution ‎(5,136 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. Suitable Water Saving Strategies for Bozkol Village in the Aral Sea Basin of Kazakhstan ‎(4,425 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Kazakhstan

Who is Who

People working in Kazakhstan
  1. Bo Libert ‎(6,015 views)
  2. Siegfried Leffler ‎(5,245 views)
  3. Vadim Sokolov ‎(4,420 views)
  4. Hamidreza Ghaffarzadeh ‎(3,737 views)
  5. Tim.turner ‎(5,268 views)
  6. Tim.hannan ‎(1,136 views)
  7. Melina.seyfollahzadeh ‎(2,706 views)
  8. Hamid.ghaffarzadeh ‎(4,559 views)
  9. Christine.roth ‎(6,186 views)
  10. Christina.carlson ‎(4,941 views)

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Kazakhstan

Organizations working in Kazakhstan
  1. Kazakhstan Water Partnership ‎(3,372 views) . . WikiBot
  2. ICWC ‎(5,599 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Commission on the Use of Water Management Facilities of Intergovernmental Status on the Rivers Chu and Talas ‎(2,482 views) . . WikiBot
  4. CAREC - Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation ‎(8,433 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Kazakhstan


See also

External Resources

Water Knowledge Fair 2006:Kazakhstan

UNDP Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Water Partnership

UN in Kazakhstan:Environment

Asian Development Bank, Water

World Bank Water Supply and Sanitation

FAO Aquastat Kazakhstan Country Profile

World Bank Water Fact Sheet for Kazakhstan

World Bank country water notes

WHO Water & Sanitation Data

UNECE Water Convention: Joint commission on the Chu and Talas Rivers

CIA World Factbook Kazakhstan

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