The Amu Darya and Syr Darya basins have been used for large-scale irrigation for the past few decades. Thus, many irrigation canals were constructed to bring land under cultivation in an overwhelmingly arid climate.
In the Amy Darya Basin, the three largest canals are the 1) Karakum canal, (300 m3/sec), the 2) Karshi and 3) Amu-Bukhara canals (100 m3/sec each). In addition to these three largest canals there exists a network of hundreds of smaller canals distributing water from the Amu-Darya to cultivated fields.
In the Syr Darya Basin, the major irrigation complexes include the 1) Golodnaya Steppe system in Uzbekistan (including the Dustlik canal) 2) Fergana Valley system (including the Great Fergana Canal) in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, 3) Kzyl-Kum Canal, 4) and the Kzyk-orda Canal both in Kazakhstan. The Golodnaya Steppe is one of Uzbekistan’s major cotton producing regions. Three primary canals, the Central, Northern, and South Golodnaya Steppe Canals, were constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s to bring this area under cultivation.