This paper presents an overview of water management issues and current legislations in Central Asia. Management of available water resources is one of the main issues of the Central Asian states, namely, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Poor water management in the past such as intense irrigation practices during the USSR and decentralization of the water management after its collapse has led to inevitable environmental issues, such as shrinking of the Aral Sea. Sharing of transboundary waters, mainly of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, remains the main point of conflict between the countries in the region. The upstream countries poor in natural energy resources are interested in using water resources to generate hydropower, while the countries downstream need water for agricultural purposes. Moreover, most of the agricultural technologies are outdated due to insufficient funding and this issue leads to water loss in the area. Drainage waters pollute rivers and streams aggravating the transboundary conflicts between the countries and causing health problems among the population living close by the river basins. Over the years, the Central Asian states have adopted state laws and regulations, and have come to an agreement with the neighboring countries regarding the transboundary issues. Numerous local and international organizations have launched programs for improvement of water management of Central Asia.
Saule Akhmetkaliyeva is a research fellow in the Eurasian Research Institute at H.A.Yassawi Kazakh Turkish International University. She holds a BS in petroleum engineering from the Kazakh National Technical University named after K.I.