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Kazhastan > Impacts by Sector > Water



Explore the overview for a general context of how vulnerable and resilient Kazakhstan is to climate change. Explore climate impact and vulnerability by sector. View the results of the Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment for Kazakhstan. Explore the various options for climate adaptation in key sectors.


Over the past century, substantial growth in population, industrial and agricultural activities, and living standards have exacerbated water stress in many parts of the world, especially in semi-arid and arid regions. Climate change, however, will regionally exacerbate or offset the effects of population pressure for the next decades. It is projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions. In contrast, water resources are projected to increase at high latitudes. Proportional changes are typically one to three times greater for runoff than for precipitation. Furthermore, Climate change is projected to reduce raw water quality, posing risks to drinking water quality even with conventional treatment.

Some of the most direct inpats that climate change might have on the water sector are listed below:

Heat increases the demand for water. Meanwhile evaporation also increases resulting in greater losses of exposed surface water. Glacial melt contribute to discharge, but reduces the overall water stock. The quality of water decreases, and the incidence of pests increases.

In general, an increased precipitation means that more water is potentially available for use.

An increase in more extreme precipitation events means a higher risk of floods. Multipurpose reservoirs will need to keep normal operation levels lower to account for the increase in flood risks. Lower Normal Operation levels mean that less water is available for downstream use when needed. Furthermore, it leads to increase of turbidity and sedimentation, less infiltration to the aquifer and increased load of parasites into reservoir and wells.

Drought events increase water demand, but also evaporation, and ultimately to a reduction in the overall water balance.

Sector Vulnerability

The water sector may expect increased stress as result of the drought risk that occurs mainly in southern and western provinces of Kazakhstan. The increased heavy precipitation will intensify this impact.