Asif Verdiyev, Director of the Hydrological Center at the National Hydrometeorological Service of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, confirmed this distressing news.
“There was a slight increase of water in the rivers after the heavy rains in May, but there has been no more precipitation over the last few days, and the water level began to drop,” Verdiyev said.
According to the director of the center, water loss is observed in the mountain and transboundary rivers, as well as in the lower reaches of the Kura.
The shallowing of the Kura, Azerbaijan’s largest river and the main source of fresh water in the country, has been a cause of serious concern for several years. The situation is particularly dire in Neftchala, Sabirabad and Salyan Districts. Haqqin.az has repeatedly covered the problems caused by the shallowing of the Kura River in these areas, analyzing possible causes.
Verdiyev told us that Ministry specialists regularly monitor the fluctuations of water level in rivers, especially in the Kura, where it has been declining since May 10 and is now noticeably lower than the annual average norm. However, according to Asif Verdiyev, monitoring shows that the situation is far from critical and does not spell an environmental disaster.
The situation with the Araz River is much more complicated.
According to Riad Akhundzade, a representative of Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Management OJSC, 29.9 percent of fresh water resources are formed within the territory of our country, while the remaining 70.1 percent are formed abroad and get into Azerbaijan through transboundary rivers.
This fact makes Azerbaijan’s water economy extremely dependent on the ecological state of foreign rivers and the amount of precipitation they receive. As a result, the fill rates of the four major rivers of Azerbaijan have noticeably dropped in recent years against the background of global warming: 27 percent for the Kura, 34.58 percent for the Araz, 21.8 percent for the Samur, and 9.17 percent for the Ganikh.
Analysis shows that against the background of population growth and economic development, the volume of agricultural production and, of course, the amount of water needed for irrigation of these areas are increasing proportionately. According to a series of reputable international studies, by 2040 a number of countries will face a shortage of fresh water as a result of global warming.
“Unfortunately,” Riad Akhundzade says, “Azerbaijan with its almost one and a half million hectares of agricultural land in need of stable irrigation is one of them.”
According to the representative of Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Management OJSC, work is underway to prevent existing water losses by reconstructing irrigation canals, concreting them or placing them into a closed system of pipes. Furthermore, 10 new reservoirs are to be built in the coming years in order to create additional resources using water from mountain rivers formed by melting snow.
To all of this we can only add that for the time being, an atmosphere of confusion prevails in several villages in Neftchala District, where drinking and irrigation water has been in short supply for a long time. The population of these villages has serious fears that the situation will deteriorate dramatically this summer.
Translated from Haqqin.az