Integrated water cycle management in Kazakhstan


Meyer, B. and Lundy, L. (ed.) 2014. Integrated water cycle management in Kazakhstan. Almaty, Kazakhstan Al Farabi Kazakh National University Publishing House.
TitleIntegrated water cycle management in Kazakhstan
EditorsMeyer, B. and Lundy, L.

Kazakhstan is undergoing massive social and economic change. In 2005, a UN report identified scarce reserves of renewable water in Kazakhstan, suggesting this could seriously limit the sustainable development of its rich natural reserves and economy. Several reports since have come to the same conclusions. Kazakhstan’s educational policy has also recently undergone several reforms to better support its people in developing the skills required to underpin an internationally competitive economy. A key component of this is the development of relationships between universities and business sectors. The involvement of business and professional associations in developing the core content of University courses, improving teaching and learning processes and the further development of research links between sectors have all been identified as areas yet to be fully exploited. It is within this clear environmental protection and higher education context that the I-WEB project team identified the on-going need to implement Masters and PhD programmes focused on the integrated management of water in close partnership with professional and industrial organisations.
The specific problem targeted by I-WEB is the need for Kazakh graduates to develop the capability and operational capacity to support the institutionalisation of integrated water cycle management (IWCM) approaches. This focus was identified and driven by Kazakh members of I-WEB in recognition of the scale and impact of the major water resource issues currently impacting Kazakhstan. These include increasing levels of water consumption by agriculture, industry (especially the gas and oil industries) and urban areas. For example, whilst modernisation of agriculture is strongly encouraged this is often linked to increasing water consumption. This is leading to reductions in water levels in both surface and groundwater bodies, the most notable example of which is the Aral Sea. Increasing demand for water resources within Kazakhstan is further complicated by the fact that seven of its eight river basins are transboundary. Hence the need for IWCM plans to balance demands on water resources across economic sectors but also across national boundaries. A further crucial aspect is mitigating the impacts of climate change (current scenarios indicate levels of precipitation and glacier run-off may reduce further). Water pollution is also a major concern in Kazakhstan with water quality in many of its surface and ground waters identified as ‘unsatisfactory’. Discharges of untreated effluents from chemical industries and petroleum processing are identified as principal sources with devastating environmental impacts reported.
Key objectives of I-WEB include contributing to meeting the practice and research needs of industry through the development of MSc and PhD programmes in international IWCM best practice; supporting the shift from a regional to a catchment based approach to IWCM through integrated water planning; developing understanding of the need for and processes of stakeholder engagement. More specifically, I-WEB programmes will support students to develop skills to identify and manage water resources through knowledge of their critical limits and thresholds; utilising a systems approach to understanding and predicting links between social, economic and environmental impacts of water management decisions. Target groups that will benefit from the graduates of I-WEB programmes include academics (lecturers and technicians), professional sectors (e.g. environmental consultants and research organisations), business sectors (e.g. water suppliers, fisheries, farming, oil, gas, transport and energy producers etc) and regulators (local catchment and regional planners, policy development and environmental regulators).

PublisherAl Farabi Kazakh National University Publishing House
Place of publicationAlmaty, Kazakhstan
Publication dates
PrintOct 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited12 May 2015
Output statusPublished
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