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This paper is an evaluation of the use of water by the riparian Central Asian states, with a primary focus on Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The paper discusses the basin's water resource geography along with other critical water issues including irrigated agriculture, the Aral Sea problem, water sharing among the basin states, national water politics, and the future of water management. These complicated management issues are central to understanding and tackling the environmental and agricultural challenges confronting Central Asia, and also have the potential to generate conflicts both within and between states.