DUSHANBE, November 2, 2010, Asia-Plus -- Uzbek authorities have been financing interested experts for aggravation of the situation around the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP), Homidjon Aripov, the secretary of Taj ICOLD (Tajikistan’s national committee within the International Commission on Large Dams, or ICOLD), said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, Tajikistan must respond to all statements by Uzbek authorities and experts.  “There ought not be idle and pin hopes on retired experts,” said Aripov, “Tajik MFA should note a protest against this dirty provocation that has far-reaching goals: to incite inter-ethnic conflict and cause a wide political response in order to break the construction of the Roghun HPP.”

The expert notes that Uzbekistan that is located in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers now use more than 80 percent of water resources of the basin, while only 8 percent of the flow forms on its territory.  “To get economic profits from cotton growing Uzbekistan has used water running through its territory irrationally and unfairly; as a result of this, the water dries up long before reaching the Aral Sea which, as a result, has shrunk to a small remnant of its former size.”

“The Roghun HPP  is not yet constructed, while the Aral Sea has already degraded.  Where does Tajikistan come in?  You destroyed the Aral Sea and have the guts to admit this.  Karakalpakstan autonomous republic now suffers from aridity due to the wrong planning in the agrarian sector in the Soviet times and this wrong, or criminal to be exact, strategy is still used in Uzbekistan,” Aripov said.

According to him, Uzbekistan gets used to use water that belongs to other state under partition.  “In order to lay the blame for ecological disaster, caused by a rush for profits, on Tajikistan, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during his trip to Karakalpakstan that the construction of the Roghun HPP would leave Uzbekistan facing water shortages for eight years until Roghun dam filled with water,” said Aripov, “Uzbek leader is not sure that international experts will allow themselves to be run by him and will state that the Roghun HPP, designed by Gidroproekt, one of world’s best schools of hydraulic engineering construction, is really dangerous.”

The expert notes that with the beginning of an active phase of Roghun’s construction Tajikistan will begin to use its water resource quota, that has not been used by Tajikistan fully so far.  “Every year, Tajikistan used its quota 2-2.5 cubic kilometers less than its due,” said Aripov, “If this volume is used to fill the dam with water during eight years as Islam Karimov says, it will be 16-20 cubic kilometers, while the capacity of the Roghun reservoir is 13.3 cubic meters.  We do not need quotas of other countries.  Tajikistan plans to fill the Roghun dam with water not in eight but in some 10-15 years.”

“Indeed, Uzbekistan will not receive quotas of others that have been successfully used for irrigation,” said the expert, “Uzbekistan ought to learn to live within its resources.”

The International Commission on Large Dams, or ICOLD, is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the sharing of professional information and knowledge of the design, construction, maintenance, and impact of large dams.  It was founded in 1928 and has its central office in Paris, France. It consists of 90 member national committees which have a total membership of about 10,000 individuals.