The Toktogul Dam in Kyrgyzstan was built on the Naryn River (a northern tributary of the Syr Darya) during the 1970s as a centre piece of the Soviet Union’s efforts to conquer nature in its drive to modernise central Asia; the dam was finished in 1973, the reservoir created in 1976, and served to control the inter-annual variability of water resources and to ensure that there would always be sufficient water for irrigation. The reservoir flooded more than 26 thousand hectares of land in the Kementub Valley, of which 21.2 thousand hectares of agricultural land, 26 communities including large settlement Toktogul were displaced and the main road through the region was re-routed. Archaeologists excavated sites dating back as far as the 8th century AD before they were lost. According to Eelke Kraak, researcher at University of Oxford , “For Soviet planners, dams were symbols of development and modernisation. The Soviet Union’s hydraulic mission was to conquer nature by transforming free flowing rivers into an economic resource. In absence of democracy, dams were also an important source of legitimacy for the Soviet Union. On average, the region has enough water to grow sufficient crops to feed its own population and earn foreign currency through exports. The problem, rather, is a huge geographic, seasonal and inter-annual variability in water availability. In response, between 1950 and 1990, the Soviet Union built hundreds of dams, canals and artificial lakes. Uzbekistan’s Hunger Steppe was transformed from an uninhabited desert into a cotton factory of 300,000 hectares. The Kara Kum Canal, when completed in 1988, transferred 12.9 cubic kilometres of water – almost 15% of the Amu Darya River – to irrigate parts of the Kara Kum Desert.”  The Toktogul dam became fully operational in the late 1980s. It is one component of a cascade of five hydroelectric stations downstream, which all together produce 90% of Kyrgyzstan’s power. As the dam regulates transboundary water flows, it has caused several frictions among Central Asian countries.