Topic of the scientific and technical program: “Assessment of fresh groundwater resources as the principal source and long-term reserve of sustainable drinking water supply to the population of the Republic of Kazakhstan”.

Executor of the Program: Ahmedsafin Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geoscience LLP.

The Program is aimed at scientific substantiation and geo-information and analytical support of sustainable drinking water supply to the population of the Republic of Kazakhstan due to the fresh groundwater resources.


1) Assessment of the features in formation of renewable and predicted resources of fresh and slightly saline groundwater in the Republic of Kazakhstan in conditions of climatic and anthropogenic changes.

2) Regional studies to identify, prevent, mitigate or eliminate negative processes affecting groundwater resources as a result of anthropogenic and natural and climatic influences.

3) Assessment of availability, state and prospects of using fresh and slightly saline groundwater resources for drinking water supply to urbanized and rural areas of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

4) Substantiation of prospective water demand and development of scenarios for sustainable drinking water supply to large and small cities, rural settlements.

5) Substantiation of options for drinking water supply to the urban and rural population in emergencies of a natural and man-made type.

6) Development of scenarios to manage the fresh groundwater resources in the event of transboundary threats.

7) Justification of ways to transfer the fresh groundwater for drinking purposes to water-deficient regions.

8) Development of recommendations to prevent, weaken or eliminate the negative processes affecting groundwater resources as a result of anthropogenic and natural and climatic influences.

9) Organization of the state reserve fund of undeveloped explored deposits of fresh groundwater.

10) Justification of the organization and creation of underground reservoirs to collect and store the flood runoff and meltwater.

11) Development and creation of a geo-information and analytical subsystem of fresh groundwater resources of drinking quality for assessing, forecasting and making managerial decisions on their use and protection.

Relevance: Many countries have had to use groundwater more frequently due to the shortage of fresh surface water. This is explained by the fact that groundwater, as a source of water supply, has a number of advantages over surface water. As a rule, groundwater is of better quality, more protected from pollution and contamination, less susceptible to seasonal and long-term fluctuations, and generally, its use does not require expensive water treatment measures. The trend of the maximum possible use of groundwater for drinking water supply to the population, especially due to the increased incidence of unforeseen (emergency) pollution of surface water sources, is currently becoming a determining factor in the overall global strategy of increasing the reliability of drinking water supply systems.

The relevance of the fresh groundwater resources development in Kazakhstan is increasing when solving the problems of acute water shortage. This problem was highlighted among the main global challenges in the 2050-Kazakhstan Strategy: “Water is an extremely limited resource and the struggle for possession of its sources is already becoming a major factor in geopolitics being one of the causes of stress and conflicts on the planet.” It was noted that “The problem of water supply is acute in our country. We do not have enough quality drinking water. A number of regions are in dire need of it”. The list of state tasks of the 6th Policy – “Green” economy and environmental protection of the 2025-Strategic Development Plan of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the need to improve the efficiency of use and protection of water resources is highlighted.

The expected outcomes of the Program are aimed at effective management of national fresh groundwater resources to ensure sustainable drinking water supply for the country’s population in the long term. The research results will make a scientific and applied contribution to the development of arid hydrogeology in terms of the management of fresh groundwater resources to ensure sustainable drinking water supply for the population in the long term.

Argumentation of scenarios and options for effective development of proven fresh groundwater reserves contributes to an increase in the volume of available water resources within the implementation of state programs; attracting investments of national companies and private enterprises in the implementation of projects for centralized drinking water supply systems for urban and rural populations; improving the conditions for water supply to regions that suffer from a shortage of drinking water.

The social effect includes solving the problems of shortage of clean fresh water; increasing coverage of urban and rural population with centralized drinking water supply systems; practical implementation of scientifically grounded assessment and recommendation materials; ensuring public health; increasing the sustainability of water supply to the population and economic sectors; increasing national water security and sustainable development of the country.

INFORMATION about the program executors’ qualification and work experience, main publications, Hirsch Index, references to the profile in the database, role in achieving the goal and getting the expected results

Main results for 2021

A geoinformation-analytical subsystem of thermomineral and industrial groundwater of Western Kazakhstan has been developed.An assessment of the heat-energy, mineral-raw materials and health-improving potential of underground waters in Western Kazakhstan, the state and trends of changes in the hydrogeochemical indicators of underground waters in Western Kazakhstan under the influence of natural and climatic changes and anthropogenic loads, and recommendations for reducing negative consequences were carried out.

List of published works

  1. Section in the monograph:

Decarbonization of Extractive  Industries in the Republic of Kazakhstan: Potential and prospects for the development of hydrogeothermal energy in Kazakhstan (Absametov M.K., Каn S.M., MurtazinE.Zh.)//under edition of Doctor of Gelogical and Mineral Sciences SerikbekDaukey.-Nur-Sultan: Bi-PRINT.-2021.- P.137-155.

2.Каn S.М.,Itemen N.М., ТleuovaZh.T. Potential and prospects for the development of hydrogeothermal energy in the natural and economic systems of Kazakhstan //InternationalScientificandPracticalConference “WaterResourcesManagementintheContextofGlobalization», Almaty, 11-12 March 2021. P. 129-135

3.V.Rakhimova, T.Rakhimov, Eu.Sotnikov, O.Miroshnichenko, E.Murtazin, D.Muratkhan. Mathematical Model Of the Balkhash Lake Coastal Zone//48 IAH Congress, Inspiring Groundwater, Brussels Belgium, Book of Abstracts,  2021, p.156.


Main results for 2022

South and East Kazakhstan thermomineral and commercial groundwater geoinformation-analytical subsystem was designed and created.

While developing and creation of the subsystem, to evaluate groundwater state-of-the-art, in April – September 2022, regional expeditionary studies with groundwater samples taking for laboratory analysis were organized and carried out by five field parties within borders of Almaty, Kyzylorda, Zhambyl, Turkestan and East-Kazakhstan regions. Total length of site investigation reconnaissance was up to 40,000 km, explored were 135 wells (wells and springs) and 129 water samples were taken for chemical analysis and 32 samples for isotope analysis. Surface water, bittern, bottom and salt sediments of 20 saline lakes were explored additionally.

Computer models of «South and East Kazakhstan Industrial water», «South and East Kazakhstan mineral and thermomineral water» and «South and East Kazakhstan Thermal (heat energy) water» maps were developed. Maps are constructed in loops and are presented in the form of shape-files. Semantic database is supplemented with tabulated information.

Performed were collecting, consolidation and analysis of global experience of using and developing thermal, commercial and mineral water development scenarios, including by: potential of geothermal energy sources by continents; direct use of geothermal energy (MW, TJ/year, GW*h/year) by countries of the world; installed heat power (MW, TJ/year) by various use categories (thermal pumps, heating, greenhouses, drying of agricultural crops, industry and other); implemented commercial projects and chemical elements extraction methods (Zn, Li, Mn, Pb, Ag, Fe, Cu, S, Br, SiO2 etc.) from natural brines with the use of laboratory and pilot units; use of mineral water of different balneological type medicinally. 59 published information sources were examined.

Evaluation of South and East Kazakhstan groundwater heat energy, minerals and raw material and health and recreation potential was carried out. Heat energy potential of intermontane and platform artesian basins thermal aquifer systems geothermal water was estimated as 217.2 mln TJ; 60.35 mln MW; 7.4 bln tons of standard fuel, and potential of platform basins prevails – 74.7%. By rated temperature zones, heat energy potential is distributed as follows: 40–75°С – 71.8%; 75–100°С – 18.8%; >100°С – 9.4%. Annual heat energy potential of South Kazakhstan proven deposits is estimated as 3,370.6 TJ; 936,56 thousand MW and 114.76 thousand tons of standard fuel, and share of 3 heat energy water deposits (Zharkunak, Shaulder and Arys) – 85.9%.

Mineral-raw materials potential of industrial water was estimated for perspective areas of platform basins of South Kazakhstan. Natural mineral-raw materials potential of valuable components in industrial water of Shu-Sarysu basin equals to (thousand tons): lithium – 120.8; strontium – 2,805.8; iodine – 18.5; bromine – 2,987.9 and boron – 33.8; annual mineral-raw materials potential (thousand tons): lithium – 2.2; strontium – 51.2; iodine – 0.3; bromine – 54.5 and boron – 0.6. Natural mineral-raw materials potential of industrial water within limits of structures of South-Torgai basin is as follows (thousand tons): strontium – 556.5 and bromine – 156.2; forecasting annual mineral-raw materials potential (thousand tons): strontium – 10.2 and bromine – 2.8.

In the territory under study, explored were mono-, bi- and multicomponent medicinal-mineral water of 9 groups and 20 types. Cumulative commercial reserves were approved in the amount of 28.74 thousand m3/day, of which 96.2% of reserves and 35 deposits were explored in South Kazakhstan. Of special interest is medicinal-mineral water with mineralization of up to 10.0 g/l that is suitable for internal (drinking) consumption. It was found in 24 deposits/sites, and its proven commercial reserves are 22.94 thousand m3/day (79.8% of the cumulative quantity). Resource base of South and East Kazakhstan medicinal-mineral water allows enhancing range and arrange commercial bottling of table, medicinal-table and medicinal water of 12 types. Based on materials of previous works and field expeditionary studies carried out in 2022, found were 177 shows of medicinal-mineral water of 5 balneological groups

Collection, consolidation and analysis of published, archived and library materials and results of previously carried out hydrogeochemical studies of South and East Kazakhstan administrative regions main types of proven groundwater deposits was performed on the database of the Committee for Geology of the Republic of Kazakhstan Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources (135 reports) and laboratory studies carried out in the Laboratory of chemico-analytical studies of Institute of Hydrogeology and Geoecology named after U.M. Akhmedsafin LLP for 2022. Analysis of examined materials allowed data systematization and information distribution.

Development and provisioning of geoinformation database of groundwater qualitative indicators in South and East Kazakhstan administrative regions main types of proven groundwater deposits were carried out. Software system Aquachem 11 was used in processing of chemical analysis results. Geoinformation database is supplemented with information about qualitative indicators of groundwater deposits based on data of field studies in 2022. Examined were 164 water intake structures with samples taken for chemical analysis. Additionally, isotope analysis of groundwater samples was carried out. Based on results of chemico-analytical studies, prepared were cumulative Tables of parameters for the development of special-purpose cartographic materials and geoinformation database of groundwater qualitative indicators.

Developed and drawn were cartographic materials related to the status of groundwater qualitative indicators for South and East Kazakhstan administrative regions main types of proven deposits.

Identified and evaluated were various designated purposes groundwater from main types of proven groundwater deposits chemical indicators dynamics and change trends under the impact of natural and climatic changes and man-made burden in South and East Kazakhstan. Revealing of changes caused by impact of natural and climatic factors was carried out by plotting linear trends that point out to directivity and possible order of groundwater resources variation value. Planned scenarios of climate change in any estimates will not result in any significant changes in groundwater useful resources rated values. Parameters of evaluation of groundwater proven deposits status and their change trends by analyzing a number of series of observations of indicators under study shall include: flow rates of water intake structure wells and water intake structures; groundwater levels; indicators of chemical composition and physical features of groundwater. Results of hydrogeochemical studies testify presence and spread of groundwater with different mineralization degree and diversity of composition. Laboratory studies of groundwater proven deposits samples showed the presence of fresh and low-brackish water with mineralization of up to 3.2 g/l, predominantly calcium bicarbonate and sodium type, less often bicarbonate-sulphate, sulphate-chloride calcium and sodium type. No additional man-made pollutions were found directly on production wells of groundwater deposits. Increased background fluorine content was noted.

List of published works for 2022

  1. Section in the monograph: M.Zh. Burlibayev, D.M. Burlibayeva, N.P. Ogar, E.Zh. Murtazin, S.K. Alimkulov, M.A. Askarova, A.A. Tursunova, et al. Environmental problems of the Ile River delta and ways to solve them. Section 7.Determination of the dynamics of groundwater levels of aquifers in the Ile River delta by seasons of the year, amplitude fluctuations, mean annual, minimum and maximum values//”Kaganat”, Almaty, 2022, pp.266-310.
  2. N.M. Itemen, E.Zh. Murtazin, M.K. Absametov. Extraction of lithium from reservoir brines of oil and gas fields in Southern Mangyshlak// Mining Journal of Kazakhstan, 2022, No. 8, pp. 9-14.
  3. V.A. Smolyar, E.Zh. Murtazin, O.L. Miroshnichenko, L.Yu. Trushel. Formation of geoinformation system of thermo-mineral and industrial groundwater of Western Kazakhstan// Mining Journal of Kazakhstan, 2022, No. 8, pp. 17-23.
  4. D.B. Chensizbaev, D.K. Adenova. Hydrogeological features of Shu-Sarasu province// Mining Journal of Kazakhstan, 2022, No. 8, pp. 25-30.
  5. Zh.A. Onlasynov, Zh. Erikuly, M.M. Muratova, M.Zh. Akynbaeva. Dynamics of spectral indices of remote sensing data by the example of irrigated massifs of Eastern