The goal of the proposed project is to develop and promote adaptation strategies to alleviate the negative impacts of increased changes in stressors on water resources for environment and society, i.e., seasonal snow cover and glacier disappearance that causes short term catastrophic flooding in spring-summer and long-term droughts and land degradation in the central Asia oases, in Pamir and Tien Shan. With more information obtained during the project and new development of the proactive adaptation strategies we could go a long way towards ameliorating future stresses. For example, water demand management, floodplain connectivity, ‘super qanats’, and capture and underground storage of meltwater could all be used as tools to help sustainably maintain the oases local vegetative cover, and supply agricultural, industrial and human uses.
The proposed project will include both technical and institutional mechanisms for fostering adaptation, in a scenarios and storylines approach. Technical measures will include novel hydrogeological investigation of aquifer storage and recovery, and ‘super qanats’, i.e., large scale realizations of the deep horizontal wells historically used throughout the ancient world to tap mountain aquifers in arid regions. Institutional measures will include investigation of the potential for policy changes to effect distributed and behavioral changes in water use and agriculture.