New Policy Brief on Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources in Central Asia

Jun 2024; Georg Petersen, CAREC Institute

Climate change poses a significant threat to Central Asia, with increasing temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns affecting water resources and regional stability. The region’s reliance on outdated infrastructure and glacier-fed water sources increases its vulnerability. CAREC Institute’s recently published policy brief integrates a review of academic literature, the analysis of current policy frameworks and the empirical evaluation of the current situation in Central Asia related to the impacts of climate change on the water resources.

Central Asia could face severe impacts from climate change, including water scarcity, land degradation, and potential energy deficits. The agricultural sector, vital to Central Asia’s economy, is particularly sensitive to water scarcity. Water infrastructure in Central Asia is inadequately equipped to address climate-induced changes that are already affecting the region.

Climate change affects agriculture, energy supply and stability in the region causing unavailability of the water required in these sectors across Central Asia. Without significant action, the region risks reduced crop yields, economic decline, and the potential for water-related conflicts.

An immediate upgrade of infrastructure is necessary, focusing on efficient use of water technologies for enhanced adaptability towards climate change. Given the large value of funding necessary to build resilience, it is important to explore multiple types of funding sources. Even if the necessary funding is significant, the region can build mechanisms to raise the necessary funds and build a water resources management system resilient to climate change.

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