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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Oct 2020

09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

A novel causal structure-based framework for comparing basin-wide water-energy-food-ecology nexuses applied to the data-limited Amu Darya and Syr Darya river basins

Haiyang Shi1,2,4,5, Geping Luo1,2,3,5, Hongwei Zheng1, Chunbo Chen1, Jie Bai1, Tie Liu1,5, Shuang Liu1, Jie Xue1, Peng Cai1,4, Huili He1,4, Friday Uchenna Ochege1, Tim van de Voorde4,5, and Philippe de Maeyer1,2,4,5 Haiyang Shi et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi, Xinjiang, 830011, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 (A) Yuquan Road, Beijing, 100049, China
  • 3Research Centre for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi, China
  • 4Department of Geography, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium
  • 5Sino-Belgian Joint Laboratory of Geo-Information, Ghent and Urumqi

Abstract. The previous comparative studies on watersheds were mostly based on the comparison of dispersive characteristics, which lacked systemicity and causality. We proposed a causal structure-based framework for basin comparison based on the Bayesian network (BN), and focus on the basin-scale water-energy-food-ecology (WEFE) nexuses. We applied it to the Syr Darya river basin (SDB) and the Amu Darya river basin (ADB) that caused the Aral Sea disaster. The causality of the nexuses was effectively compared and universality of this framework was discussed. In terms of changes of the nexuses, the sensitive factor for the water supplied to the Aral Sea changed from the agricultural development during the Soviet Union period to the disputes in the WEFE nexuses after the disintegration. The water-energy contradiction of SDB is more severe than that of ADB partly due to the higher upstream reservoir interception capacity. It further made management of the winter surplus water downstream of SDB more controversial. Due to this, the water-food-ecology conflict between downstream countries may escalate and turn into a long-term chronic problem. Reducing water inflow to depressions and improving the planting structure prove beneficial to the Aral Sea ecology and this effect of SDB is more significant. The construction of reservoirs on the Panj river of the upstream ADB should be cautious to avoid an intense water-energy conflict as SDB. It is also necessary to promote the water-saving drip irrigation and to strengthen the cooperation.

Haiyang Shi et al.

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Haiyang Shi et al.

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Latest update: 26 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Some river basins are considered to be very similar because they have the similar background such as transboundary, facing threats of human activities. But we still lack understanding of the differences under their general similarities. Therefore, we proposed a framework based on Bayesian network to group watersheds based on similarity levels and compare the causal and systematic differences within the group. We applied it to the Amu and Syr Darya river basin and discussed its universality.
Some river basins are considered to be very similar because they have the similar background ...