Reed Economy of the River Delta

Common reed plays an important role in local people’s livelihoods and economy in the Syr Darya Delta. Summer reed is used for forage and is known as pshen in a local dialect. Winter reed is tied into tight bundles and is used for building houses and erecting fences. Winter reed bundles are called pashyn or shom. Many people tend to think of reed as a material of the past. Reed is not appreciated as much as it used to. For example, the owners of houses built with reed cannot get a loan, many people opt for bricks or metal when building houses or erecting fences. Such a change is seen as a sign of “development”. At the same time in “developed” countries eco-friendly reed houses are valued more than brick or metal buildings. This gallery shows the role of reed in the everyday life of delta communities and tries to make a claim that common reed holds great potential for becoming a building material of the future.

Reed is a winter feed for livestock
Reed is mowed as an evening feed for livestock during summer as well
Mowed reed is bundled up for easier storage and transportation
Irrigation canals get overgrown by reed
Summer reed is mowed with a sickle or a Chinese-made petroleum mower
Winter reed is mowed with hoes or petroleum mowers
Winter reed bundled up for transportation
Then, the reed is made into much tighter bundles, which can be used for construction
Reed is used as wall filler, insulation material, and window shades
Setting fishing nets under ice while mowing reed is widespread