Gateway for:

Member Countries

The Syrdarya River Model


Creation of the Working Model of Water Balance and Water Quality in Basin of the Syrdarya River at the Territory Kazakhstan

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-SPC/Solid Waste Pollution and Control/Environment
  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Rudneva V Ya

Leading Institute
National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakstan, Almaty


  • Sandia National Laboratories, USA, NM, Albuquerque

Project summary

The goal of the Project is to develop a working model of water balance and water quality for the transboundary basin of the Syrdarya river at the territory of Kazakhstan, and further use of the research results in solving the international transboundary problems of monitoring and freshwater preservation in river basins of Central Asia.

The Syrdarya river is the life supporting artery for a large region of Central Asia. The following states are involved in basins of the Syrdarya river: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Beginning from November 2000 these four countries came to agreement to carry out joint works on study and monitoring of the environment in Syrdarya and Amudarya river basins, International Project "Navruz". The first stage of the Project was planned for two years and came to the end in September 2002, "Navruz-I". At present time investigations are being carried out on ISTC Project at financial support of the USA, Navruz-II. The collaborator is Cooperative Monitoring Center at Sandia National Laboratories (CMC SNL), USA. The obtained results of analytical investigations allowed to characterize the radio-ecological situation in each states and reveal some features of contamination of these river basins with radionuclides and toxic elements. A high level of contamination with natural radionuclides (238U, 235U, 232Th lines) has been revealed in the Syrdarya river basin at the territory of Kazakhstan, that related with high stock of uranium in this region, Syrdarya uranium province. It is also determined that a high concentration of toxic elements (As, Se, Mo, Sb и Cd) in water of the Syrdarya and the Badam rivers, flowing into the Arys river (Syrdarya river tributary), is obviously connected with influence of industrial enterprises of Shymkent city. The highest concentration of the artificial radionuclide 137Сs (21 Bq/kg) in soil was revealed near the underground nuclear explosion "Meridian-3". This is an evidence of its influence.

The Project "Creation of the working model of water balance and water quality in the Syrdarya river basin at the territory of Kazakhstan" is an important component part for all Central Asian Regional Program. The Project provides for creation of the model of water balance on water use as one of the estimation methods for consequences of various transboundary actions. It is required to aggregate the developed in all countries models into one model. The modeling itself will be a part of International transboundary cooperation. The model of water balance is intended to estimate dynamics flows of water in headwaters of the Syrdarya river, with allowance for climate change and water consumption, and to forecast for the future various actions on water use. The model of water quality will forecast concentrations and transport of some metals and radionuclides (for example selenium and uranium) and allow to find ways of improvement of quality of water. Primary models can be improved and elaborated in the course of Project fulfillment. They can include an improved spatial and temporary resolution in the model of water balance and more parameters of water quality. The models themselves are intended to be highly interactive, for that users could modify variables, run the models and view graphic output, all in real time. The interactive capability of such modeling approach makes the modeling tool highly accessible to users.

Besides, the Project provides for investigation (chemical, element and radionuclide composition of water, bottom sediments, soil and vegetation) of drains into the Syrdarya river from the side of Karatau ridge, uranium deposit Shyily and drains and inflows of Arys, Keles, Badam. A special attention will be paid to the territory of underground nuclear explosion "Meridian –3". The regularly sampling of river water, bottom sediments, coastal soil and vegetation will be carried out. Sampling will be carried out four times a year between March and November taking the period of high and normal water level in the river. During sampling water flow measurements and measurements determining the main qualitative and quantitative parameters of water will be carried out. Point coordinates for measurements and sampling will be determined as well.

During laboratory works along with methods of radionuclide analysis (α-, β-spectrometry with preliminary radiochemical extraction, instrumental γ-spectrometry) the method of chemical, activation and X-ray fluorescent analysis as well as ISP MS.

As a result investigation fulfillment in the framework of the Project there will be obtained new data on river inflow speed, contamination with radionuclides and toxic elements of the Syrdarya river basin. There will be created database, including all information about water discharge, ecological and radio-ecological situation of the Syrdarya river basin. System dynamics models for water balance and water quality in the Syrdarya basin at the territory of Kazakhstan, that are important contribution for all Central-Asian regions, will be developed. Foremost, the models developed as a result of this project will provide a tool in which scientists can test and refine their ever increasing knowledge of water resource quality. The models will help scientists identify their own gaps in both knowledge and understanding, and will constantly challenge them to improve. Working with a model facilitator, these users can experiment with different management strategies and view the simulated impacts and consequences. For instance, they can experiment with the effects of:

  • different population growth rates on water supply;
  • different crop types and irrigation methods on water supply;
  • different urban conservation measures on water supply;
  • different urban treatment measures on water quality;
  • different reservoir operations on water supply and water quality.

The project works will be performed by the high-qualified staff-physicists, chemists, engineers and technicians with large experience in nuclear physical methods of analysis, radiochemistry, mass spectroscopy instrument-making, nuclear techniques, data processing and numeral simulation programmers.

For successful Project fulfillment the role of foreign collaborator –Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) – is very important. Foreign Collaborator will serve in the following roles:

  1. Facilitator – SNL will work as a neutral party among the Central Asian participating institutions by helping to organize meetings, map out plans and future directions, and establish links to other relevant institutions and inpiduals;
  2. Technological consultant – SNL will help Central Asian participants to identify and acquire relevant technologies for implementation of the project;
  3. To provide all participating institutions with available in SNL system dynamics models of the river as part of the Project.
  4. Database management – SNL will continue to manage the database through the internet server based at SNL, until such a time when regional capabilities have expanded to the point that regional operators wish to take over database management.

The Project provides for decision of following tasks:

Task 1. Work expansion on monitoring and data collection for models of water balance and water quality

The main point includes analysis of river-flow intensity and other data on field and laboratory investigations of seasonally selected samples for contamination of the river basin with radionuclides and toxic elements, and provision with all data for the internet database.

Task 2. Methodical, apparatus and technical provision of measuring devices for water flow intensity

The point includes choice, acquisition, mastering and usage of new equipment for providing with firm and reliable data on water flow at sampling points of the Syrdarya river and its tributaries.

Task 3. Development and enhancement of the model of water balance and water quality

The point includes functioning of the first model, interactive system for modeling quantity and quality of water.

Task 4. Hold meetings and workshops

The point includes workshops that will assist to interpret results of modeling and demonstrate how these results can be applied for making resolutions in respect improvements of water quality. Moreover, to introduce an end-user with modeling technology and its application. Meetings and workshops will help to build transboundary working relations necessary for developments of the optimum decisions of a question of improvement of water quality.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view