DUSHANBE, November 2, 2010, Asia-Plus  -- Recent statements by Tajik ministers of foreign affairs (Hamrokhon Zarifi) and reclamation and water resources (Rahmat Bobokalonov) about terms of the filling of the Roghun dam with water are not backed by serious and well-grounded arguments and aimed at misleading the Tajik population and international community, a statement by V. Ahmadjonov, the deputy head of the water resource balance and water-saving technologies department of the Uzbek Ministry of Water Economy, posted on the Uzbek MFA website, said.

According to him, the statement that the Roghun dam will be filled with water during seventeen years due to Tajikistan’s quota of water resources and this will not affect downstream countries is absolutely absurd.  Upon construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant, the filling of the reservoir with water must be carried out during 7-8 years: initially to the rated dead zone and then to the rated heads and levels.  “It means that there will be irreversible withdrawal from the Vakhsh River mainly during the vegetation period, because they will not withdraw water in June-August in order to provide operation of the Norak, Paypaza, Golovnaya and Sangtuda stations,” said Ahmadjonov, “If the dead zone is 1,220 meter, some 5 cubic kilometers of water will be needed to fill the dam to the dead zone.”

He stressed that specialists from the German company, Lahmeyer, that conducted feasibility study for the Roghun HPP I 2006 drew the same conclusion.   

He also notes that Tajikistan is prone to a variety of risks for natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and mudflows that may affect safety of operation of dams and cascade power stations.

“Under this situation, instead of conducted correct and weighted assessments for socioeconomic and energy problems existing in Tajikistan, some high-ranking state officials of this country try to shift the blame to neighboring countries,” Ahmadjonov said.         

We will recall that Tajik Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources Rahmat Bobokalonov told reporters in Dushanbe on October 21 that the Roghun dam will be filled with water due to Tajikistan’s quota of water resources and downstream countries will receive water according to their quotas.  He assured that the downstream countries will not face water shortages during the filling of the Roghun dam with water.  “All allegations by opponents of the Roghun hydroelectricity project that implementation of the project will leave major part of Uzbekistan’s population facing water shortages for eight years are absolutely baseless,” the minister stressed.  Bobokalonov noted that Tajikistan was determined to complete the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP), which was of vital significance for development of the country’s economy.

As it had been reported earlier, during his trip to Karakalpakstan autonomous republic in early October, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said that if Tajikistan went to complete construction of the Roghun HPP as planned, it would leave Uzbekistan facing water shortages for eight years until Roghun dam filled with water.  He promised not to let Tajikistan to reduce the amount of water flowing to Uzbekistan and the shrinking Aral Sea even by "one gram."