Government Weekly Review: Kazakhstan to tackle water scarcity, gasification of regions
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – This week the Kazakh Government’s meeting focused on several pressing issues, including rational use of water and water scarcity, development of machinery manufacturing, gasification of regions, as well as educational grants, Kazinform correspondent reports.
In his remarks Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov emphasized the need for repair works on channels and water reservoirs as well as introduction of an automate water resources management system.
«Efficient growing season is critical for the yield level and for the most part of the country’s food security. Notably, 7 out of 8 river basins of Kazakhstan are trans-boundary. Half of the river flows arrive in Kazakhstan from the bordering countries. Experts predict that water consumption in Kazakhstan is set to grow by 56% by 2040. The water scarcity may reach 12 sq km a year,» the Premier said.
Of total volume designated for agriculture, according to Smailov, only 60% of water reaches cropped lands. Rest of water is lost in transit due to poor condition of infrastructure.
In addition, he instructed the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources to explore the introduction of fees for the amount of used irrigation water not for water consumption per 1 ha of irrigated lands which eventually will lead to more rational water use.
For his part, Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Serikkali Brekeshev touched upon water scarcity some regions in the country are facing.
Of the total volume of water extraction, in his words, some 11,6 cubic meters of water fall at continuous flow irrigation. Of these, 97% accrue to four southern regions, including Almaty, Zhambyl, Turkestan and Kyzylorda regions with the total area of irrigation of 1,28 million hectares or 80% of the total area of irrigation lands.
«In recent years southern regions of Kazakhstan have experienced water scarcity. To ensure smooth running of growing season in those regions the preparation works for the season have begun in November 2021,» said Serikkali Brekeshev, revealing a working plan for winter and growing seasons for 2021-2022 had been approved by the ministry.
As per the plan, Kazakhstan will be working with neighboring countries on ensuring additional water release from water reservoir.
First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar who also participated in the Cabinet’s meeting expressed confidence that machinery manufacturing has future in Kazakhstan. He pointed out there is no need to focus solely on automobile manufacturing.
«There are also oil and gas machine manufacturing, power engineering manufacturing,» said Sklyar, adding that the country has competences, personnel and youth who possess necessary skills and education and can develop those sectors and work at those enterprises.
Sklyar also cautioned against turning Kazakhstan into an importing country not able to produce anything. He urged to open new manufactures in the country and obtain new skills required to work at those manufactures.
The problem of gasification was in the spotlight of members of the Kazakh Government on Tuesday as Energy Minister Bolat Akchulakov, Chairman of JSC «Samruk-Kazyna» National Wealth Fund Almasadam Satkaliyev as well as akim (mayor) of Nur-Sultan city and akim (governor) of West Kazakhstan region took the floor.
When talking about gas demand in Kazakhstan, the head of the Kazakh Government revealed domestic consumption grew by 35% in the past five years. This year the Government will make sure over 11 million Kazakhstanis will have access to natural gas, he vowed.
Smailov noted that gas sector has been demonstrating steady growth and is of key importance in the socioeconomic development of the country, stressing that further development of the industry will directly depend on the level and condition of the gas transportation system.
The Prime Minister charged to submit to the Government the revised draft master plan of gasification of regions for 2030 by July 1, 2022.
Participants of the Tuesday meeting of the Kazakh Government also touched upon the upcoming academic year 2022-2023. Education and Science Minister Askhat Aimagambetov announced that both fee-pay students and educational grant holders regardless of their status will have to enroll into universities via an online platform of the ministry. The move, according to Minister Aimagambetov, will help ensure academic honesty countrywide.
Kuanysh Yergaliyev, Vice Minister of Education and Science, announced that additional 10,000 educational grants will be awarded to young Kazakhstanis residing in the densely-populated areas in Atyrau and Mangistau regions. Up to 73,000 grants will be earmarked for those who plan on getting their Bachelor’s degree. Over 33,000 grants are to be allocated for Master’s degree applicants, while potential PhD degree holders will get just under 2,000 grants.