Artificial Glaciers Help Stave Off Drought In Kyrgyzstan

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) SYN TASH- In the Tian-Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, villagers have made an artificial glacier to provide water for their drought-hit farms. Standing on the ice hillock, farmer Erkinbek Kaldanov said he was optimistic about harnessing nature to counteract climate change.

“We won't have any more problems with water,” said the farmer, who was worried for his sheep last year after some unusual temperature spikes.“When the glacier melts, there will be enough water for the livestock and to water the land in Syn-Tash,” the surrounding district, he said.


The glacier currently measures five metres high and about 20 metres long. At the height of winter it was 12 metres tall.

Local residents made it over a period of two weeks in autumn by re-directing water from the peaks of Tian-Shan, which tower more than 4,000 metres high in northern Kyrgyzstan.

Kaldanov and others are being forced to adapt since natural glaciers in Central Asia - the main water source for the region - are slowly disappearing due to global heating.

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A 2023 study in the journal Science predicted that the acceleration in the melting of the glaciers would peak only between 2035 and 2055. The lack of snow, also due to higher temperatures, does not allow them to regenerate.

'Less and less water'

The extent of the problem can be seen in satellite images of Central Asia and in the regular warnings issued by the United Nations. The problem has a knock-on effect on the lowlands of Central Asia, in more arid countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

This in turn feeds into existing tensions between the different countries, which still share water resources under a complex and obsolete scheme inherited from the Soviet era.

“There is less and less water every year. The water tables are emptying out, the springs are drying up and we have problems with grazing,” said Aidos Yzmanaliyev, a spokesman for the Syn-Tash farmers.

Finding solutions is urgent, particularly as farming represents around 10 percent of the fragile Kyrgyz economy and two thirds of its inhabitants live in rural areas. In the north of Kyrgyzstan, a country accustomed to revolutions and uprisings, the lack of water has already stoked social tensions in previous periods of drought. (AFP)

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