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Tajik Power Plant Saving Water For Its Neighbors

KHUDJAND, Tajikistan, March 11, 2009 (RFE/RL) -- The Qairoqum Hydropower Plant in northern Tajikistan is operating with only two of its six water aggregators, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The power plant's general director, Faizulloh Avazov, told RFE/RL that using only one-third of the devices that bring in the water needed to generate electricity helps Tajikistan save water for the agricultural needs of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Avazov said Qairoqum currently produces 560,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, and Uzbekistan is compensating for the stoppage of the power plant's four aggregates by exporting electricity to Tajikistan.

But he added that the electricity from Uzbekistan is not enough to end power rationing in the region.

RFE/RL reports that electricity is available for just five hours per day in the regional center, Khujand, and for only one hour or even 30 minutes per day in the region's villages.