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Development of the Karakums in Turkmenistan - a way to solve fresh water problems

Development of the Karakums in Turkmenistan - a way to solve fresh water problems

Development of the Karakum Desert, which occupies three-quarters of Turkmenistan's territory, will permanently solve the problem of fresh water - this is the opinion The following is the opinion of the expert of, Prof. Dr. Allaberdi Ilyasov.

Development of the Karakum Desert will not only help to improve the ecological situation, but also to solve problems with fresh water. The Karakum Desert, which occupies three-quarters of Turkmenistan's territory, is the largest desert in Central Asia and is among the largest deserts in the world, along with the Sahara, Gobi, Tar, Atakama and others.

Recently, fresh water has become no less valuable than oil or gas. Studies show that it is beneath the sands of deserts that there are considerable reserves of fresh water. The example of Libya is illustrative in this respect - the country that was able to form real underwater rivers underground, supplying water from natural reservoirs through special water pipelines to where it is most needed. This allowed the state, located in the middle of the Sahara Desert, to turn into a blooming oasis.

The Takla Makan Desert in China was no less of a sensation. Scientists have discovered that beneath the vast sea of sand there are enormous reserves of water, formed by the runoff of meltwater from the mountains that surround the desert. Specialists believe that the available volumes could well meet the needs of agriculture and industry in the PRC.

The Karakum desert is of no less interest in this respect. Thus, about half a century ago, a study of a small part of this desert was carried out. Only 8 underground reservoirs, the total water reserve of which is estimated at 60 thousand cubic meters, have been studied so far. These underground freshwater lenses were formed in the area of the ancient river valleys of the Tedzhen, Murgab, Amu Darya and Uzboy. Each underground lens has its own name - Balkuyz, Badkhyz, East-Zanguz, Jillikum, Karabil, Repetek, Yaskhan and Cherkezli. The Yaskhan lens, located in the dried-up Uzboy riverbed, is particularly notable.

It should be noted that 50 years ago the equipment used to search for groundwater was technically inferior to the modern equipment, so it was not possible to accurately determine the scale of reserves and the existence of deeper occurrences at that time. Modern equipment will make it possible to detect water reserves located at a depth of several kilometers.

Exploring the Karakum today is also a way to strengthen Turkmenistan's national independence. It will not only help identify hydrocarbon and other mineral deposits, but also discover and study the lakes beneath the sands. And since the UN predicts a shortage of fresh water in the near future, the availability of one's own water reserves may well become a determining factor of independence.

In this regard, Turkmenistan is pursuing a deliberate policy that implies a careful attitude toward the environment, the rational use of natural resources, and providing the country with the necessary amount of water.


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