Water Resources Situation in the Region

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Water Resources in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

Water resource use in the countries of the former Soviet Union (CIS) is changing: while in the early 1990's a significant proportion of water was used for agricultural purposes (irrigation), a growing share is being allocated for industrial and domestic purposes. Industries that use water resources also include nuclear power plants and hydroelectric generating plants.

Although the household connection rates in the CIS region is comparatively high, the infrastructure - stemming largely from the Soviet era - is rapidly deteriorating. The supply of water is often unreliable and sporadic, and in many cases water is highly contaminated by untreated sewage and toxins. Many countries still lack adequate sewerage facilities, particularly in rural areas.

Unlike other regions of the world, physical water scarcity is not so prevalent in most former Soviet countries. However, water often is managed in highly inefficient ways. One of the main reasons lies with unsuitable (or non-existent) water pricing. This combined with high leakage rates from inefficient and crumbling infrastructure, pollution from agricultural runoff and flooding has helped to make (man-made) water-stress widespread.

A lack of investment in infrastructure, along with the absence of more integrated water resource planning are mainly due to (a) economic restructuring following the collapse of the Soviet Union and independence of the former republics, and (b) a general lack of awareness and the inherited habit of not having to pay for water. These key concerns must be addressed if the targets set under the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation in this region are to be met.

Further Readings - References - Links


water resource and water withdrawal map of the world: http://webworld.unesco.org/water/ihp/db/shiklomanov/part'3/HTML/Fi_21.html


1] Earthtrends, WWDR 2006 (FAO/Aquatstats)

[2] UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme) and World Resources Institute (2000)

[3] UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme) 2000

[4] Joint monitoring programme ( WHO and UNICEF) http://www.wssinfo.org/en/22_wat_global.html

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