Academic Publication

Managing the Water-Climate-Food Nexus for Sustainable Development in Turkmenistan

Weili Duan
Yaning Chen
Elsevier - Science Direct
Publication Year:
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

This article describes the challenges that conventional, commodity agriculture poses to resource security in Turkmenistan, and suggests agricultural reforms for water efficient, diverse cereal-crops held by smallholder farms. Click for the journal here.



  • Future water–food security was evaluated under three scenarios in Turkmenistan.
  • Agricultural water requirements and deficits for growing seasons will decrease.
  • Mary province will have the highest income and losses of irrigated agriculture.
  • Ahral province will have the largest land and irrigation water productivities.



The water–climate-food security nexus is uniquely vulnerable in Central Asia, a region replete with transboundary water conflicts, shortages in land and water resources and high sensitivity to climate change. Using a water balance for the Amu Darya River Basin, we present a synthetic evaluation of future water use, crop yields, land and water productivities for the period 2016 to 2055 in Ahal, Dashoguz, Lebap, and Mary provinces in Turkmenistan. Modeled fut socio-economic scenarios include food security and diet change (FSD), export-oriented sustainable adaptation (ESA) and business as usual (BAU). Results show that water requirements and water deficits during growing seasons will exhibit a decreasing trend from 2016 to 2055 in most provinces under all three scenarios. Crop yields and land and water productivities will likely increase in the four provinces under both the FSD and ESA scenarios. Mary province had the highest mean income and losses of irrigated agriculture, with an annual average value of about 7 × 108 USD/year and 1.5 × 103 USD/year, respectively. Ahral province showed the largest annual mean land and irrigation water productivities for all three scenarios, up to about 800 USD/ha/year and 0.40 USD/m3/year respectively. Results obtained from this study provide tools to assist resource managers to identify vulnerabilities in the nexus of water, land and climate to ensure food security, water management, and sustainable development.


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