01:39 / 04.08.2020
Farmers in Kushkupir district suffer from drought

Residents and farmers in the Kushkupir district, Katagan village, have complained that the water problem has not been resolved for several years. Agricultural lands, fish ponds, people’s backyards have dried up from drought.

In the Kushkupir district, residents of the “Arablar” mahalla, the Katagan village, “Taraqqiyot” mahalla of the Sputnik town and several farmers working in the area have complained about the lack of water for irrigation.

The “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal, which runs through two mahallas, has been left without water for three years. As a result, farming, animal husbandry and fishing are becoming increasingly impossible. People are having trouble using the land, growing vegetables, gardening. Entrepreneurial activities that cost a lot of money are also under question.

Erkin Ruzimov is an entrepreneur, who established the “Ruzimov Abdulla” farm with good intentions and to earn for his living. But the problem of water shortage has ruined the farmer’s business and plunged him into debt.

“I started business in the fishing industry on 4.5 hectares of land. I prepared 3 hectares for the pond. When I started work, there was uncertainty whether there would be water in the “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal or not. But the leaders assured that there would be water, they promised. Unfortunately, in 2020, not a single drop of water came from the canal. As a result, the area of the pond reduced to 0.1 hectares of its original size. Most of the fish in the lake died. I am drowning in debt. In the fall, I will be asked to deliver fish to fulfill the state order for fish products. How will I fulfill it?” Ruzimov got desperate. 

The head of the “Zohidjon Kushkupir” family business, Zokhidjon Nurmetov, complained that the high-investment business he started is in jeopardy and that the drought could cost a lot of loss.

“Our family business operates in the field of meat and dairy. We have a large farm in the “Arablar” mahalla. We have 131 head of Simmental cattle, delivered from Switzerland. I spent 3.5 billion soums on this project from my personal funds and received the same amount of loans. Due to the lack of water, fodder production is becoming a problem for our livestock. There is no water in the “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal, as a result of which our crops are dehydrated and drying up. We have appealed to relevant organizations. How to do business in such conditions? Will the price of meat in the market go down if livestock breeders are not supported?” he said.

Kalandar Abdikarimov is a farmer, who established the “Yuldosh chupon dalasi” fishing farm with good intentions. But water shortages severely damaged his entrepreneurial activities as well.

“I started working in the fishing industry. 8.5 hectares of land have been allocated for my activities. I prepared 2.5 hectares as a pond. I brought fish, but there was no water. As a result, the fish died and I suffered a lot of damage. How can you run the fishing business if there is no water coming from the canal? There was no place left to complain or appeal. No help is being provided. There is no help for the farmer, there is only demand. How can one work in such conditions?” Abdikarimov said.

The situation in the “Taraqqiyot” mahalla, located across the “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal, is even worse. In the area with a population of about one thousand, ditches and fields are drying up due to lack of water, and crops are dying of thirst.

“They demand that we have to plant crops on the land and use it, otherwise we will be deprived of it and fined. We are forced to pay the land tax. But when we ask them to provide us with water, no one listens. This has been happening for the past 2-3 years. The drought has hit us hard. We have planted crops and gardens, but we can’t irrigate, we are wasting our money and labor force,” a resident of the mahalla said.

Dilmurod Davletov, a hydraulic engineer at the Kushkupir district branch of the “Chapkirgok Amudaryo” basin irrigation systems department, commented on the lack of water in the “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal.

The “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal starts from the Khanka district. Then it passes through the territory of the Urgench district and reaches the Kushkupir district, with a total length of 36 km. Water is not reaching the last 8 km of it because very little water is being given. If the canal is supplied with 3 to 3.5 cubic meters of water per second, the lands of the population and farmers can be fully irrigated,” he said.

According to residents of the mahalla, there is water in the “Ung tarmoq Kulobod” canal, but it is blocked at the entrance to the Kushkupir district. Farmers in the Khanka and Urgench districts are planting rice on large areas of land and using water from large pumps.

It was not possible to get a comment from the leadership of the Khorezm regional branch of the “Chapkirgok Amudaryo” irrigation basin department on the abovementioned problems.

Currently, farmers and residents of the neighborhood are forced to use groundwater for consumption and irrigation of crops. However, due to its high level of hardness, the water is considered unsuitable for consumption and farming. Poor quality water is detrimental to human health and also reduces soil fertility. For years, people have been waiting for these problems to be solved, for water to run through the canals and ditches, and for the mahalla to be provided with drinking water. Unfortunately, local authorities do not go beyond the promises.

Reporting by Nurmuhammad Said
Translation by Oybek Kulmamatov
Editing by Doniyor Tukhsinov