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Turkmen Leader Pledges To Conserve Water

Turkmenistan's president has pledged to conserve scarce water resources, a major problem in a country that's considered to be among the world's top water wasters.

Addressing Turkmens on the Day of Water, a national holiday, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov pledged to curb waste. He said the government would oversee the "systematic introduction of conservation technologies... and the application of best practices," according to the French news agency AFP, citing state media.

Much of the Central Asian country is covered by the Karakum desert, one of the driest places on earth.

The former-Soviet Central Asia states have largely failed to repair outdated irrigation networks and continue to produce water-intensive crops such as cotton. In 2012, Uzbek President Islam Karimov warned disagreements over water-sharing could spark war in the region.

Based on reporting by AFP