The Central Asian International Scientific-Practical Conference
“The 25 years of Water Cooperation in Central Asia:
Achievements, Lessons Learnt and Future Outlook”

23-24 November 2017, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Meeting of the Working Group on Water Saving

6 June 2017, Ashgabat

On June 6, 2017, the first meeting of the Working Group on Water Saving was held during the Central Asian International Ecological Forum in Ashgabat. The Group was established by the decision of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) in Central Asia. The meeting was held in line with the “Implementation Plan on strengthening ICWC activities in key directions” approved in 2014.

The meeting was financed by the CAREC project “Promoting dialogue for conflict prevention related to environment, water nexus issues in Central Asia: Central Asia Water-Nexus Cooperation” (CAWECOOP), which is implemented with the financial support by EU.

The main task of the Working Group is to summarize the activities at the national level and support ICWC in developing and implementing water policies in the region, including rational water use. In this context, the Group will:

  1. Summarize and systematize water saving practices in the Central Asian (CA) countries and abroad;
  2. Analyze proposals and develop further actions for water saving and rational water use in the CA countries;
  3. Keep track of activities and results of the international projects on water saving and rational water use to raise awareness among ICWC members.

Expected work results by the Working Group in 2017:

  • two meetings of the Working Group (in June in Ashgabat and in November in Tashkent);
  • national reports on water saving practices in CA and future plans;
  • regional summary report to be presented at the Anniversary Conference of ICWC in 2017 “Water saving in the Central Asian countries: lessons learnt and future prospects”;
  • systematized catalogue of water saving practices in the context of CA countries (taking into account local conditions);
  • interactive map for the best practices on water saving in CA (joint product of CAREC and SIC ICWC)
  • knowledge dissemination, including thematic publications (brochures, booklets)
  • 2018 action plan of the Working Group.

Members of the Working Group on Water Saving for the meeting in Ashgabat included:

  1. Gulmira Saginbayevna Imasheva– Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Kazakhstan
  2. Yanov Durdyevich Paschyev - Head of Water Use Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Turkmenistan
  3. Gayrat Rakhimov – Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Republic of Uzbekistan
  4. Shukhrat Shakirovich Mukhamedjanov– Acting Head of the Working Group on Water Saving
  5. Dinara Ravilyevna Ziganshina– Deputy Director, SIC ICWC

The meeting was aimed to:

  • Discuss water saving practices in CA, including existing technical, legal, and institutional frameworks and restrictions;
  • Define focus areas to develop proposals on further water saving practices and rational water resource use in CA countries;
  • Discuss the content and format of national reports on water saving and define the basic points of the regional summary report;
  • Define mutual interests and opportunities to systematize and disseminate water saving practices for improved raising awareness among ICWC members, stakeholders and public.

The meeting was opened by D.Ziganshina. She presented the mandate and tasks of the Working Group. The participants were acquainted with the action plan of the Working Group for 2017 approved by ICWC. Based on this plan, the agenda of the first meeting of the Working Group was prepared.

On the second item of the agenda, Sh.Mukhamedjanov made a presentation on “The importance and value of water saving for Central Asia”. The Working Group members from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan presented their water saving practices.

In particular, the ways to share practices and maintain cooperation with the current producers of water saving technologies were discussed. Mr. Paschyev mentioned that Uzbekistan has well developed infrastructure for production and installation of drip irrigation systems. It makes sense for Turkmenistan to consider possibilities for buying equipment from Uzbekistan as an alternative to the current equipment supplies from Israel and China. Mr. Rakhimov was proposed to provide the information on companies which produce drip irrigation systems in Uzbekistan, with their price lists. The Water Research Center in Taraz is responsible for dissemination of drip irrigation technologies in Kazakhstan. They implement pilot projects in each province to spark the interest of farmers by demonstrating benefits of these technologies.

The main focus was on water saving at the field level; the participants also mentioned the importance of measures undertaken at the main canal level and reduction of conveyance losses.

On the third item, Mr. Mukhamedjanov presented the draft structure of national reports on water saving to the Working Group for consideration. The participants agreed upon the presented structure as it covered all key aspects. While discussing the content of reports, it was underlined that they should contain not only practices, but also proposals for further water saving activities. The participants has set main components of the regional summary report that will include an overview of the situation in three Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

On the fourth item, Ms. Ziganshina made a presentation on the current approaches to systematization of knowledge on water saving. Particularly, a brochure “Systematization of water saving practices based on countries’ experiences and previous project developments” (by Sokolov V.I., Horst M.G.), preliminary version of the interactive map with best practices (joint product by CAREC and SIC ICWC), and hierarchical classification system of knowledge base of SIC ICWC (“Water saving” section) were presented. Other alternative ways were discussed also to systematize and disseminate knowledge. Particularly, it was proposed to develop a catalogue of producers of drip irrigation systems in Central Asia.

The invitees discussed institutional issues related to activities of the Group.

Based on the meeting outcomes, it was agreed that:

  1. By July 10, 2017, the Working Group members would send the first drafts of the national reports on water saving based on the approved structure.
  2. The members would present updated national reports at the Anniversary Conference in Tashkent in November 2017.
  3. The Working Group members from SIC ICWC would prepare the regional summary report on “Water saving in the Central Asian countries: lessons learnt and future prospects” by the Anniversary Conference of ICWC in Tashkent in November 2017. The draft report is to be discussed with the Working Group members on a routine basis.

The Working Group members expressed their gratitude to the host country (Turkmenistan) and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC) for their support in holding the meeting of the Working Group in Ashgabat.