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Interstate Commission for Water Coordination of Central Asia

Basin Water Organization “Syrdarya”

Present water management system of Syrdarya River Basin provides a rational use of all water resources and represented by agreed many of hydrotechnical devices on Syrdarya River and its inflows, which guarantee transporting of water, transformation of flow in water reservoirs, conveying of water to users, generation of electricity, measuring and controlling of used water quality.

Syrdarya river basin comprises the following Central Asian sovereign states: the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The length of Syrdarya from the confluence of Naryn and Karadarya rivers to the Aral Sea is 2337 km, and with Naryn river — 2790 km, basin area is 150 100 km2.

Average annual Syrdarya basin flows for the last years are 40.8 km3. Owing to unique Syrdarya water system it is feasible also to use 6.7 km3 of return waters. There are five water reservoirs on Syrdarya and its tributaries:

  • Toktogul reservoir: total capacity is 19.5 km3, including effective capacity of 14 km3.
  • Andijan reservoir: total capacity is 1.9 km3, including effective capacity of 1.75 km3.
  • Bakhri Tojik (ex Kayrakkum) reservoir: total capacity is 4.03 km3, including effective capacity of 2.55 km3.
  • Charvak reservoir: total capacity is 2.05 km3, including effective capacity of 1.6 km3.
  • Chardara reservoir: total capacity 5.4 km3, including effective capacity of 4.4 km3.

Toktogul reservoir and HPS

Charvak reservoir and HPS

Andijan reservoir and HPS

Chardara reservoir and HPS

Bakhri Tojik reservoir and Kayrakkum HPS

Naryn and Syrdarya river water consumption of the states as a whole in the last years is average 25 km3 a year allowing for limits, including water supply to the Aral Sea and in-channel losses downstream Chardara reservoir on the territory of Kazakhstan.

After consecutive low water years, in 1980 the Aral Sea basin states faced to serious problems in water resources management. To solve conflict situations and to improve water allocation among the states in a context of an extreme water shortage, the Ministry of Reclamation and Water Resources of the former USSR formed two basin water organizations — BWO “Amudarya” and BWO “Syrdarya”. The presence of skilled specialists and a direct relation with the Ministries of Water Resources of the republics allowed to improve water resources management, to introduce order in water allocation, taken water volumes limitation and water accounting for a short time.

After the collapse of the USSR, to ensure effective water resources management, the Ministries of Water Resources of the five Central Asian states approved “Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on Cooperation in the Field of Joint Management on Utilization and Protection of Water Resources from Interstate Sources” in respect to the Aral Sea basin as a result of a series of negotiations, meetings and discussions. Interstate Coordination Water Commission (ICWC) with its executive bodies — BWO “Amudarya” and BWO “Syrdarya” — was established. This Agreement, signed in Almaty on 18 February 1992, and other documents and acts, accepted by Central Asian states in the last years, are the basis for interstate water resources management.

BWO “Syrdarya”

BWO “Syrdarya” is responsible for transboundary water resources management and interstate water allocation from Toktogul reservoir to the border of Kazakhstan (Chardara reservoir). Besides, BWO “Syrdarya” along with the Committees for the Environment, hydro meteorological services and sanitary inspections of the states control Syrdarya river water quality.

The organization has headworks on Syrdarya river and its main tributaries: Uchkurgan waterwork with a capacity of 3000 m3/sec on Naryn river, Kuyganyar waterwork with a capacity of 1400 m3/sec on Karadarya river, Verkhnechirchikskiy waterwork with a capacity of 1800 m3/sec on Chirchik river, etc., and also canals of interstate significance (first of all, “Dustlik” canal and Big Fergana canal head). BWO has at its command 198 hydraulic structures, 21 of which are located on the main channels of Naryn, Syrdaya, Karadarya and Chirchik rivers. The capacity of the structures is between 20 and 3000 m3/sec, and the discharges of the structures on “Dustlik”, Big Fergana and South Golodnostepskiy canals reach 350 m3/sec.

The main water user in Syrdarya region is irrigated farming, area of which is 3.380 million ha. 1.730 million ha of area is irrigated directly from the river. More over, water is supplied to meet industrial, domestic and environmental needs and to the Aral Sea. Account of water withdrawal from rivers and canals is carried out in 445 points, including 21 head intakes, 36 stationary pumping plants and 172 temporary pumping plants. Account of river waters is fulfilled mainly by hydro meteorological services of the states, and on intakes – by BWO “Syrdarya” and other water bodies in the region.

BWO “Syrdarya” central apparatus in Tashkent exercises control through territorial administrations in accordance with Naryn-Syrdarya reservoir cascade operation modes and water intake limits, confirmed by ICWC for non-vegetation (October-March) and vegetation (April-September) periods of each hydrological year, and territorial administrations — further through waterworks administrations.

“Syrdarya” Basin Water Organization consists of:

  • Naryn-Karadarya waterworks administration in Kuyganyar, Andijan oblast;
  • Gulistan administration for hydroschemes and the Dustlik Canal in Gulistan, Syrdarya oblast;
  • Verkhnechirchikskiy waterworks administration in Chirchik, Tashkent oblast;
  • Charvak reservoir administration in Charvak, Tashkent oblast.

The BWO also includes Uchkurgan mobile mechanized unit, Gulistan mobile mechanized unit, transport firm and agricultural subdivision. Total number of BWO employees is 1050.

Water resources dispatch control

Water resources scheme administrated by BWO “Syrdarya” works under conditions of guaranteed discharge bypass, as well as under extreme conditions when there are an ultimate water shortage and a need for accidentless high flow bypass with enhanced water supply in exceptionally high water years.

River flows, planned (limited) water use, and water reserves available in reservoirs in this period are taken into account in order to ensure these modes.

In a context of multi-year flows regulation, the reservoirs are operated during several years depending on water resources availability, demands for water and possible changes in Naryn-Syrdarya water carrier operation mode. That is why in such cases water resources dispatch control is annually exercised to maintain guaranteed operation mode of reservoir cascade. Low frequency peak flow bypass on Syrdarya river is achieved owing to peak flow reduction using compensatory capacity, which equals 0.8 km3 in Toktogul reservoir, 0.8 km3 in Bakhri Tojik reservoir and 0.8 km3 in Chardara reservoir. When there is compensatory peak flow regulation, the capacity of river waterworks and of river channel itself in various sections is taken into account, and, first, Karadarya and Fergana Valley rivers flows and Toktogul reservoir emergency flows are released. Bakhri Tojik reservoir transforms peak flows and balances its release taking into account Syrdarya river channel capacity. Chardara reservoir regulates Bakhri Tojik reservoir releases and peak flows of the rivers, flowing into Syrdarya river in Bakhri Tojik-Chardara section. Such system of water resources scheme operation guarantees reliable and no-failure operation of waterworks on rivers, intakes and main canals.

Taking into account the forecast of river water availability in non-vegetation and vegetation periods and of Naryn-Syrdarya cascade reservoir storage, BWO “Syrdarya” designs and submits to ICWC to confirm reservoir cascade operation mode and water intake limits to the states. The confirmed limits are the basis for implementing interstate water allocation on canals and pumping plants. Water intake limits can be adjusted in accordance with the formed water situation. If adjustment value exceeds 10% of total volume, then the limits will be reconfirmed at the ICWC meeting.

The confirmed water intake limits for the states, canals and pumping plants with decadal allocation for each month are transferred to BWO “Syrdarya” territorial administrations, zones, waterworks and intakes for execution. Water account on Naryn, Syrdarya, Karadarya, Chirchik rivers and other small rivers is carried out by basic gauging posts of hydro meteorological services in the respective states. Water account on the main canals, including “Dustlik” and Big Fergana canals, taking water from the river, is carried out through head gauging posts, operated by BWO “Syrdarya”. On-line water resources control is exercised by BWO administration at central dispatching office, communicating with territorial and waterworks administrations.

Golodnostepskiy waterworks and “Dustlik” canal administration


This unit fulfills water resources management and allocation on Syrdarya river in section of 320 km long from Akjar gauging post (Bakhri Tojik reservoir forebay, Tajikistan) to the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (Chardara reservoir), and also Isfara river. The administration has at its disposal hydraulic structures of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It includes: the main “Dustlik” canal with maximal head discharge of 230 m3/sec and a length of 117 km, which supplies water to the lands of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; the head of South Golodnostepskiy canal (SGC) by the name of À.À. Sarkisov with a length of 14.5 km and maximal discharge of 350 m3/sec; and basic gauging posts on Syrdarya river (Kzylkishlak, Nadezhdenskiy, Chinaz and Kokbulak), on canal headworks (South Golodnostepskiy, “Dustlik”, Verkhniy Dalverzinskiy, Nizhniy Dalverzinskiy, and Begovat canals), on pumping plants on Syrdarya river and distributing canals from South Golodnostepskiy and “Dustlik” canals.

Radio-telemetric remote and local control systems were installed on “Dustlik” canal headwork with technical support of the Canadian Agency and Engineering firm UMA, and on South Golodnostepskiy Canal — with the support of both the International Fund for the Aral Saving and the Kyrgyz firm “Sigma”. The other structures have local control, radio and telephone communications. Intake structures are calibrated that allows to define water discharges. Gauging posts are calibrated and equipped with facilities GR-64, GR-70, and gauging bridges.

Naryn-Karadarya waterworks administration


Naryn-Karadarya administration fulfills water resources management and water allocation among Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan along Naryn, Karadarya and Syrdarya rivers to Kayrakkum reservoir in sections with total length of more than 300 km, including Big Fergana canal (BFC) with head discharge up to 150 m3/sec, North Fergana canal (NFC) — 110 m3/sec, Feeder canal — 330 m3/sec, Akhunbabayev canal — 70 m3/sec, small canals with discharge of 0.5-6 m3/sec and pumping plants with discharges of 0.4-15 m3/sec.

Basic gauging posts within administration zone, on which water account is carried out, are as follow: Uchkurgan gauging post on Naryn river, Uchtepe gauging post on Karadarya river, Kal and Akjar gauging posts on Syrdarya river. Gauging posts on main and small canals vary from GP-64 and GP-70 types to bridge types using concern curves Q = f (H). In the last years the basin organization focuses main attention to water account improvement and hydraulic structures automation. In 2002 automated radio-telemetric water control system has been introduced on large Uchkurgan waterwork on Naryn river with the technical assistance of the Swiss Agency and the Kyrgyz firm “Sigma”. At present, design estimates for Kuyganyar waterwork on Karadarya river are prepared with the help of USAID.

Verkhnechirchikskiy waterworks administration


This unit fulfills water resources management and interstate water allocation on Chirchik river between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Average multi-year Chirchik basin flows are about 7 km3 a year, length of the river is 168 km. There is over-year Charvak reservoir with a capacity of 2 km3 on the river.

Water is allocated over the main canals such as Parkent canal with a capacity of 55 m3/sec, Big Keles main canal — 72 m3/sec, Verkhniy diversion canal — 300 m3/sec, Zakh canal — 65 m3/sec, Khanym canal — 15 m3/sec, Levoberezhnoye Karasu canal — 180 m3/sec, and small canals with discharge of 1-20 m3/sec that take water from Chirchik river. Water account is applied in respect to the releases from Charvak reservoir, Gazalkent hydro power, Gazalkent gauging post and other ones on the canals. Basic Chinaz-Chirchik gauging post is located where Chirchik flows into Syrdarya. It should be noticed that in vegetation periods Chirchik water carrier operates in irrigation regime, in non-vegetation periods — in power regime.

In 2001 automated system was put into operation on Verkhnechirchikskiy waterwork on Chirchik river with the support of USAID and the Kyrgyz firm “Sigma”. In Verkhnechirchik administration it is planned to develop such systems on head regulators of Parkent, Big Keles, Zakh and Khanym canals in the near future.

Charvak reservoir administration


Charvak reservoir administration fulfills works on protecting reservoir water area from pollution and on keeping nearby lands in normal state. It is prohibited to construct any building, firm, farm and others on water protection territory, since they can release wastes and pollute the reservoir during their activity.

Clear air and water, healthy climate, forests, quiet and remoteness from large cities attract tourists here. Reservoir water area is 40.1 km2, length 22 km, the dam is rock-fill with a height of 168 m. Total reservoir capacity is 2.0 km3, effective capacity 1.6 km3. Installed capacity of hydro power is 699 000 kW.

Toktogul reservoir


Reservoir water area is 284.3 km2, length is 65 km. Toktogul waterwork reinforced-concrete dam height is 215 m. Total reservoir capacity is 19.5 km3, effective capacity 14 km3. Installed capacity of hydro power is 1 200 000 kW. Administration staff exercise control over head intakes on Big Namangan canal with a capacity of 60 m3/sec, on Levoberezhniy Naryn canal — 20 m3/sec, taking water from Naryn, downstream Toktogul reservoir.

Repair-construction and transport firms of BWO “Syrdarya”

Repair of waterworks, canals, production and housing buildings at BWO “Syrdarya” administrations is fulfilled mainly by mobile mechanized units of the organization. Capital construction of new water management objects is done by specialized organizations according to contracts with BWO “Syrdarya” territorial administrations.

Prospects of Syrdarya river basin water resources management improvement

Systematic account of surface water resources in Syrdarya river basin is implemented by river gauging posts, administrated by hydro meteorological services of Central Asian states, and on intake structures — by BWO “Syrdarya” gauging posts. The similar works are done downstream Chardara reservoir by BWO “Aral-Syrdarya” at the Committee for Water Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Further improving Syrdarya basin transboundary water resources management requires:

  • Respect of all-basin interests and recognition of their priority over any local and narrow departmental concerns;
  • Obligatory fulfillment of interstate agreements and decisions of ICWC;
  • Strict following of water intake limits and Naryn-Syrdarya reservoir cascade operation mode;
  • Timely repair of waterworks and renewal of their full workability in the near future; and further — construction of new structures and waterworks for radical improvement of basin water resources management;
  • Reconstruction of old basic gauging posts and construction of new ones on Naryn, Karadarya, Chirchik and Syrdarya rivers;
  • Reconstruction of head intakes, administrated by BWO “Syrdarya”;
  • Hydraulic structures automation and radio-telemetric water resources management;
  • Water account improvement and world leading technologies introduction;
  • Improvement of communication reliability and telemetry on-line data gathering and transfer facilities;
  • Improvement of on-line communications on inter-agency gauging posts in Syrdarya river basin states.

Realization of projects on creation of improved information management systems will allow to significantly increase Syrdarya basin water resources management effectiveness, including return waters, and will give opportunity to completely avoid water shortage owing to concerted actions of Syrdarya basin states and to meet irrigation and industrial requirements through rational water resources use.