Climate change and human activities exacerbate trans-boundary water stress in the Aral Sea Basin, Central Asia

Authors: Weili Duan*, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yaning Chen, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhi Li, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gonghuan Fang, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Climatology and Meteorology, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Water resources, the Aral Sea Basin, climate change, human activities
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Trans-boundary water conflict in Central Asia is a serious problem in the world, especially in the Aral Sea Basin. The Aral Sea is an endorheic lake and mainly fed by the Amu Darya River and Syr Darya River. Since 1960, due to climate change and human activities, the Aral Sea has undergone a rapid recession including desiccation and salinization. Based on multi-satellite data and hydrological data, this study assesses the water resources over the Aral Sea Basin. Results show that precipitation has changed very little, while temperature has a significant increasing trend in the past 50 years. Human activities are the main factors causing declining water resources. During the Soviet era, expansion of agricultural land (e.g., high water use crops such as rice and cotton) brought an increasing trend in water consumption due to evapotranspiration from increasing irrigation. Under climate change, water management and allocation will continue to be the most important issue to meet the water requirements for upstream hydropower production and downstream irrigation in the Aral Sea Basin. The results presented here provide essential information for a comprehensive understanding of changes of water resources, and therefore can contribute to improve water resources management.

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