Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Provision of science based evidence on climate induced water quality challenges in Amu Darya basin

PI: Iskandar Abdullaev (, Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC)
U.S. Partner: Antarpreet Jutla, West Virginia University
Project dates: December 2016 - May 2019

Project Overview:

Research planned in this proposal looks into science-practice interactions on environmental issues. Water quality change dynamics are the focus of many research studies; however, systematic understanding of the linkages between emerging climate change challenges and water quality is very rarely studied. In the current context, most of the climate-related studies in Central Asia are focused on water quantity impacts and their implications for transboundary water allocation in the region. However, the studies have neither investigated nor documented the water quality aspects of climate change impacts, especially for Central Asia's two biggest river systems (Amu Darya and Syr Darya). The main objective of this PEER project is to assess the impacts of climate change on surface water quality of the Amu Darya River and develop a "climate change - water quality" model that will provide much needed information to decision makers for elaboration of possible adaptation actions. The research is aimed at putting water quality back on the agenda by taking a holistic view on climate change that will affect every aspect of water resources, including quantity, quality, inter-state/ transboundary water management, and, in the longer run, food security and sustainable development in the region as a whole.

Even though it is within the mandate of transboundary organizations, such as the river basin management organization BVO Amudarya, the issue of water quality in the basin is currently neglected due to the absence of relevant information and data in the region, as well as the lack of the capacity to investigate the issue. Therefore, the project will also transfer acquired knowledge and data to the region and enhance research capacities in Central Asia based on the tools, approaches, and methods to be applies. The study will be scientifically complemented by counterpart researchers from West Virginia University, who will take part in joint discussions of the research design integrating existing models into a new Climate Change Impact on Water Quality in the Amu Darya Basin (CCIWQAB) model. In addition to helping with the calibration, validation, simulation stages, and analysis of results, the WVU specialists will organize training workshops for CAREC researchers on methodological aspects and relevant numerical and analytical tools for water quality predictions.

Given the project’s goal of contributing to regional water cooperation by improving regional knowledge, data output, information sharing, and capacities, the research effort will be carried out by scientists from CAREC and counterparts from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, including the basin organization BVO Amudarya. A special focus will be to build the capacity of BVO Amudarya in terms of water quality maintenance. The project should also help to raise awareness of states and key stakeholders on climate change impacts on water quality. A series of policy dialogues among policy makers that share water in the Amu Darya Basin will be organized to share results of the study.

Summary of Recent Activities:

5-323 Partner Meeting
The project team discussed the project with US partners during their trip to the United States (photo courtesy of Dr. Abdullaev).
During the past quarter, project team members started the statistical analysis of hydrological, climate and water quality data in order to establish a relationship between water quality and climate indicators. During the process, the team realized there were gaps in data from other countries such as Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Therefore, two specialists were recruited to collect the missing data.

Project experts also tried to calibrate SPARROW (USGS) and QUAL2K models for scenario testing. Due to challenges related to the scale in both models, the team is exploring other options to use WEAP and SWAT tools. Preliminary results were presented for graduate students of the German-Kazakh University and Tashkent Irrigation and Melioration Institute. Analysis shows that WEAP and SWAT models produce more accurate results for the basin.

The modelling exercise also revealed a need for additional data on agricultural water intake and discharge to the Amudarya river basin. Therefore the team requested additional data on monthly water quality parameters from the State hydrometeorological agency in Uzbekistan.

Back to PEER Cycle 5 Grant Recipients