Vakhsh River

Vakhsh River

Infobox River
river_name = Vakhsh River

caption = The Vakhsh River (highlighted in blue)
origin =
mouth = Amu Darya
basin_countries = Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
length = 786 km
elevation =
mouth_elevation =
discharge = 536 m³/s (18,760 cubic feet/s)
watershed = 39,100 km²
The Vakhsh River, also known as the Surkhob (in north-central Tajikistan) and the Kyzyl-Suu (in Kyrgyzstan), is a Central Asian river, and one of the main rivers of the nation of Tajikistan. It is a tributary of the Amu Darya river.


The river's source lies in Kyrgyzstan, where it runs westwards for 262 kilometers; it then flows through Tajikistan for a length of 524 km (325 miles) before joining the Panj River to form the Amu Darya at the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The average annual discharge of the Vakhsh is 16.9 km³, derived from an average discharge of 536 m³/s.Fact|date=February 2007 The river, which is fed mostly by melting glaciers, achieves maximum flow during the summer months of July and August. The river flows through very mountainous territory, which frequently restricts the river's flow to narrow channels within deep gorges. The river's catchment area is 39,100 km², whereof 31,200 square kilometers lies within Tajikistan. The largest tributaries of the Vakhsh are the Muksu and the Obihingou. Vakhsh proper starts at the confluence of Obihingou and Surkhob.


The hydroelectric power potential of the Vakhsh River has been thoroughly exploited by the Soviet Union and its successor Tajikistan. There are currently five completed hydroelectric dams along the Vakhsh within Tajikistan, including the world's tallest completed dam, the Nurek. [cite web | title = Highest Dams (World and U.S.) | publisher = 1998 ICOLD World Register of Dams | date = | url = | format = chart | accessdate = 2007-08-11 ] The five dams supply 90% of the country's electric power generation capacity. In addition, another four dams are planned or under construction, including the Rogun Dam, which will supersede the Nurek as tallest in the world once it is completed. The existing dams along the Vakhsh make Tajikistan the highest hydroelectric power producer "per capita" in the world.


The Vakhsh is subject to blockage by landslides caused by earthquakes in the seismically active region. Such landslides pose a significant threat to the river's dams and hydroelectric power generation. In response to an earthquake-caused landslide in 2002, Tajikistan was granted a low-interest loan from the Asian Development Bank to mitigate the potential impact of the landslide.


* [ "US $5.3 Million to Tajikistan for Emergency Landslide Stabilization Measures"] (September 10, 2002). Asian Development Bank: press release no. 148/02.
* [ "Chapter 8: Water Resources Management"] . "Environmental Performance Reviews: Tajikistan". United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. United Nations: New York and Geneva: 2004.
* [ "Tajikistan - Topography and Drainage"] . U.S. Department of the Army. Published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Online version retrieved August 17, 2005.

External links

* [ Partial map of the Vakhsh with locations of the river's nine dams]
* [ Map of major river drainage basins within Tajikistan]
* [ Index of maps and graphs related to Tajikistan water resources]

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