Home Kazakhstan Country Info Drinking Water
Drinking Water in Kyzylorda PDF Print E-mail

Regional Drinking Water Situation

Since the start of our work in 2001, we have gained an understanding of the water situation in the Kyzylorda oblast. Information gathering started with informal interviews, door-to-door surveys, and water testing. Two water projects - a completed water project in the village of Kargaly, and an on-going water project in the village of Biagakhum, have also added to our understanding of the situation. This section is a summary of our findings to-date.

Water Sources

For the rural peoples of the oblast, water used for household purposes is obtained mainly from two sources. The first is the village deep well and the second are backyard shallow wells. In the case of the deep well, a village system commonly consists of piping from the well to a reservoir and a series of taps along the village streets. Families can then go to these taps to fill containers. Most of these systems however are in various states of disrepair. On the average, these systems consist of a pump which is run for a few hours each day, during which time families gather water from what few taps are functional for their needs for the next 24 hours. The worst of these systems we have observed, consists of a deep well without pump, electrical system, or street piping. In this case, not uncommon, no water distribution is being made through the village system. In some cases water delivery is being made by a water truck from the village deep well to families who have a cistern or containers for storage.

In the last decade, since the collapse of the planned Soviet economy, these systems have all fallen into disrepair due to lack of management, lack of any fee-for-use based system, and rampant theft of pumps, wiring and taps. The future outlook of these systems is not very good. Only in the last three and a half years has local government funding begun to trickle in to begin the upgrade of some of these village systems. However, in our opinion, most of these upgrades will be only partly successful due to lack of vision by village mayors, and lack of proper maintenance and management through use-based fee collection.

The second source of household water, and the most widely used at this time for village dwellers, is the backyard shallow well. These consist of a hole dug into the ground and lined with a concrete pipe about one meter in diameter. These wells are commonly five to six meters deep, may have a cover at the top, and a bucket to retrieve water from depth. Some families have hand pumps installed inside these open wells and in some cases well pipe has been pounded into the ground and a hand-pump has been attached for water retrieval.

surface waterWe have not heard of widespread use of surface water sources such as canals, lakes, or the river, for household use, but we did notice this to occur for about a year in the village of Biagakhum after failure of the village well. Also, we have heard reports of surface water use closer to the Aral Sea.

The UNDP states: “The problem of drinking water supply is currently very acute in Kazakhstan due to the poor condition of existing water supply systems and pollution, with a worsening sanitary-epidemic situation resulting in the increased incidence of disease”. (Source: UNDP Kazakhstan: National Human Development Report “Water as a key factor of Human Development in Kazakhstan”, 2003.)



© 2022 Agrinas