The Inefficiency of Self-Sufficiency: Uzbekistan's Response to CASA-1000
McDonough, Danielle Kerry
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Using the CASA-1000 project as a point of analysis, this paper will discuss the politics and management of water between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. I want to ascertain the implications of their conflicting goals of optimizing agricultural output (Uzbekistan) and producing hydroelectricity (Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). More specifically, why do the governments of these countries continue to insist upon asserting self-sufficiency and hardline territorial sovereignty over transboundary waters when cooperation and joint management would not only be more sustainable but also less costly. How has the loss of transboundary water-energy exchange agreements that existed during the Soviet Union impacted sustainable development in the region today? Current discourse on water security centers around water war theory, which states that scarcity of vital water resources will incite violence and possible war between neighbors who share that resource. While some scholars support this theory, many more are skeptical of it, arguing instead that scarcity act breeds cooperation. Should Central Asian countries continue to value water based on volume rather than benefits derived, they will continue to face rapid deterioration of transboundary waters that may lead to more serious conflict in the future. Downstream Uzbekistan views the project as a threat to downstream interests and access to their main source of water for irrigation - the Amu and Syr Daryas. Tashkent was given the opportunity to be involved in the project but declined due to disagreements over the source of electricity - several new hydropower dams that could seriously diminish the flow of water down stream during key agricultural growing months. The involvement of international organizations in the project will also be explored to determine whether aid helps or hinders cooperation and joint management in Central Asia.