World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha and Kazakhstan's Vice-Minister of Environment and Water Resources Yerlan Nyssanbayev discussed opportunities for further cooperation on the second phase of the Syr Darya Control and Northern Aral Sea project during a visit to the Kyzylorda region on Thursday.
The first phase of the project focused on the most critical investments needed to reduce water loss in the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea basin, allowing more fresh water to flow into the Northern Aral Sea.
Construction of the Kok-Aral Dam in 2005 increased the volume of the Northern Aral Sea by 68 percent and the production of fish by more than three times, improved flora and fauna and facilitated the return of the local population, enabling it to resume income generating work such as fishing.
"Implementation of the second phase of the project will help improve further the environmental and economic conditions along the Syr Darya and the Northern Aral Sea," Nyssanbayev said. "Today, the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan is working to attract a loan from the World Bank to finance the second phase of this project."
Kumar Jha said the World Bank is committed to supporting Kazakhstan's efforts.
"The project will focus on integrated water resources management in the lower Syr Darya basin, which would require a number of infrastructural interventions involving state-of-the art modeling and rehabilitation works, and strengthening the institutional capacity in water management," Jha said. "These efforts will ultimately result in the improved welfare of the population in the Northern Aral Sea region."
The World Bank said the planned five-year project will help improve the environmental and economic sustainability of the region.
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