Golodnaia Steppe

Golodnaia Steppe


(or Iuzhnaia Golodnaia Steppe), a plain on the left bank of the Syr Darya River, where it flows out of the Fergana Valley (chiefly in Syr Darya Oblast, Uzbek SSR). It has an area of about 10,000 sq km and ranges in elevations from 230 to 385 m. The Golodnaia Steppe is situated on three terraces of the Syr Darya, which are composed of loess-like and sandy loams and, in the south, of proluvial deposits left by intermittent streams from the mountains. On the south, the steppe is bounded by the foothills and spurs of the Turkestan Range. To the north and northwest it blends with the sands of the Kyzylkum Desert and drops off sharply to the Syr Darya with scarps measuring 6–20 m high.

The climate is sharply continental. The average temperature in July is 27.9° C; in January, 2. 1° C. Annual precipitation in the eastern part is about 240 mm. with a clear maximum in the spring. The rivers that flow down from the Turkestan. Sanzar, and Zaaminsu ranges are used for irrigation. The groundwater is located close to the surface.

The soils of the steppe are largely light gray and salty, with patches of solonchak. The landscape is ephemeral desert and salt desert. In the spring, various types of grasses (such as sedge and meadow grass) appear on unplowed land. These grasses wither in May, and only camel thorn, wormwood, and saltwort remain.

The Golodnaia Steppe was first developed in the late 19th century. The construction of irrigation canals was begun before World War I. The May 17. 1918. decree of the Council of People’s Commissars, On the Organization of Irrigation in Turkestan, provided for the irrigation of 500.000 desiatinas (545,000 hectares) in the Golodnaia Steppe.

Fundamental changes have been effected in the steppe during the years of socialist construction. With the reconstruction of the S. M. Kirov Northern Canal, the Central Canal, the Iuzhnaia Golodnaia Steppe Canal, and other canals, the steppe became (especially in the 1950’s and 1960’s) a vast region of cotton growing in the Uzbek SSR, covering an area of about 800,000 hectares. The expansion of the irrigation system is proceeding with the use of the most modern methods of hydraulic construction. New sovkhozes (30), cities (Gulistan and Iangier), and settlements have arisen in the steppe.


Osvoenie Golodnoi stepi, sb. st. Moscow, 1963.
Petrov, M. P. Pustyni SSSR i ikh osvoenie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.