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Report about workshop

The key reports were made also by the following international participants:

  • Robert Baker, McGill University, Montreal, Canada;
  • Loup Brefort, WB Regional Mission;
  • Sergei Vinogradov, Professor of UNESCO Center for Water Law, Policy and Research, University of Dundee, Scotland;
  • John Lamers, Bonn University, Germany;
  • Amar Shankar Sainju, Canadian Center for International Studies and Cooperation;
  • Michele Genovese, International Cooperation Directorate, DG Research;
  • Sergei Bednaruk, Federal Water Resources Agency, Russia;

The workshop was opened by the ICWC member from the Republic of Uzbekistan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Chief of Central Water Administration, Sh.R.Khamrayev and the workshop’s co-directors R.Baker and V.Dukhovny.

After presentation of the key reporters and participants, professor V.Dukhovny reported on “Water security in the region and the world as a whole: conceptual approach and future scenarios”.

In this report, he stressed an importance of water, which contributes to employment of 34% of population, to 38% of electricity generation and to 23% of national income in the region. Moreover, the region is characterized by a number of both external and internal destabilizing factors. The external factors include:

  • population growth and increased environmental demand;
  • decreased world prices of agricultural products and changed cropping patterns;
  • more frequent extreme years, in terms of water availability, caused by climate change;
  • disturbed river regimes and reservoir operation.

The internal factors refer to:

  • decreased reliability of water availability forecasts and water accounting;
  • aging of water infrastructure that, in turn, reduces controllability and increases unproductive water losses;
  • lack of funds for reconstruction and operation, and hence loss of skilled workers;
  • increased number of water users and poor attention to water conservation.

In order to solve those problems, it is proposed to accelerate the development of the regional water strategy, taking into account growing water shortage and required water conservation and potential land productivity to be achieved. This should be linked with environmental demand and IWRM. Moreover, it is necessary to continue working on national efficient water use programs and on enhancement of institutional and legal frameworks of the regional cooperation, strictly following the international water law. To this end, ICWC is developing further the earlier reached agreements about the collaboration in joint management of interstate water use and protection (February, 1992), the joint actions for solution of the Aral Sea and Prearalie problems, environmental improvement and socio-economic development in Aral region (March, 1993), the water and energy use in the Syrdarya river basin (March, 1998), as well as the Decision of the Heads of Central Asian States concerning the Program of Concrete Actions for environmental improvement in the Aral Sea basin (January, 1994) and working on a range of new agreements under the ADB’s project RETA 6163 and on a regulation document “Procedures and rules for river basin management”. The agreements include those on information exchange, enhancement of ICWC status, water and energy use in the Syrdarya river basin. Besides, there is a need to develop financial basis of the regional cooperation in transboundary rivers by sharing costs of:

  • joint water resources management;
  • establishing economic mechanism for accounting incomes and damages from water use;
  • establishing water and energy consortium as an economic tool of financial and fuel-energy flows management;
  • applying water charges for water pollution and quality deteriration.

Robert Baker reported on “Water and food security challenges in the world” as the workshops’ co-director. He demonstrated that out of the world’s total irrigated area of 280 million hectares, Asia accounts for 70%, Americas - 15%, Europe - 9%, and Africa - 5%. In the recent forty years, development of irrigation has led to twofold increase of food production and demonstrated a possibility to overcome famine even in such grand scales and at high population density as in India and China. Moreover, 92% of the produced world grain is consumed at the location and only 8% is exported. This development caused that in the last hundred years water consumption in the world increased almost six times. Besides, 1.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, about 3 billions do not live in adequate sanitary-hygienic conditions, and 4 billions are not connected to sewerage system. As to the level of prosperity, one billion people earn 1 dollar per day, three billions earn 2 dollars per day and about 850 millions starve. Future water supply will become even complicated with population growth and economic development, increased pollution and decreased potable water quality. Besides, climate change will contribute to decrease in quantities of fresh water. In the last century, due to climate change, the temperature of air near the ground increased by 0.9 degrees, and the world ocean level rose by 0.17 m. Under such conditions, for mankind to survive and the nature to conserve, people should aim at higher water and land productivities and water conservation, at transfer to IWRM at national and catchment levels and regional cooperation development in transboundary waterways. He demonstrated positive experiences of water management in Canada and lessons of regional cooperation in Colorado River by the US-Canadian Commission and in Nile between ten African countries, five of which were among the top ten poorest countries in the world.

The participants showed interest to the key reports of ICWC members, leaders of delegations from Kazakhstan (A.Ryabtsev), Kyrgyzstan (B.Koshmatov), Tajikistan (S.Yakubzod), Turkmenistan (K.Ataliyev), and Uzbekistan (Sh.Khamrayev).

Ryabtsev’s report was dedicated to threats to water security in the Republic of Kazakhstan in transboundary context and probable ways to eliminate them. Most of Kazakhstan’s territory comprises desert and semi-desert areas, where water supply is a very acute problem in terms of not only economic activity, but also consumption by the population. The problem of sustainable water supply and water security in Kazakhstan gets acute owing to that most important surface water sources are located in neighboring Russia, China, and Central Asian countries. In normal year, altogether about 44 km3 of water flows to the territory of Kazakhstan through such transboundary rivers as Ural, Black Irtysh, Ili, Chu, Talas, Syrdarya and others, with total available water resources of the country amounting to 100.5 km3. Economic expansion in these countries leads to reduction in inflow of a part of water resources to the territory of Kazakhstan. This is an interstate problem that requires developing an appropriate regulatory legal mechanism with account of the experience of, for example, European countries on the use of water resources in the Danube and other rivers.

The relationships among Central Asian countries in regard to shared use and protection of transboundary river water resources are regulated by several basic agreements, which have been rendered competent by the Heads of Central Asian states in a number of documents, including in the Nukus Declaration of Central Asian States and International Organizations on Sustainable Development in the Aral Sea Basin adopted on 20 September 1995. All of them should be enforced.

All of these steps being taken to retain water security in the Republic of Kazakhstan will not work in full, if regular and purposeful work is not done on extensive introduction of resource- and water-saving technologies in enterprises, water reuse in industry, new and more rational irrigation technologies, broad public awareness raising and the need for respectful attitude to water as a valuable and universal natural resource. All this was reflected in National Plan of Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency, which has been developed since 2004. The plan states probable ways of water resources improvement and institutional enhancement for efficient management of changing water use. The plan takes into account gradual reduction of national water due to decreased inflow from neighboring countries. Therefore, implementation should be based on both efficient use and protection of water resources within the state and improvement of water relations with neighboring states.

B.Koshmatov in his report on IWRM results in South Kyrgyzstan in terms of water productivity improvement showed that orientation to potential water productivity may enable the region’s countries to increase agricultural production almost twofold at 10% reduction of water use. One example are WUFMAS data collected from monitoring of factors contributing to crop yield formation on 220 control fields under representative for Central Asian conditions. According to the data, the annual irrigation water losses for the level "outlet to field – cotton rooting zone" average 51% throughout the region. Experience of countries producing up to 4 t of raw cotton per hectare under similar natural-climatic conditions and at unit water inputs of no more than 5 thousand m3 per hectare indicates to great potential of water conservation. Based on this, the main ways for improving water productivity and water conservation in the region are:

  • introducing water charges in irrigated agriculture through establishing incentive step tariffs and fine sanctions per cubic meter of water used over established norms and so on;
  • developing common technical approaches to rigid standardization of water consumption based on more precise norms mainly designed for meeting minimum biological needs of plants;
  • creating a system of pilot water conservation projects as first-priority entities of demonstrative water use;
  • introducing water rotation and other organizational measures aimed at control of water losses in field and its non-productive use (short furrows, irrigation with concentrated stream through furrow, thorough maintenance of field leveling and so on);
  • introducing advanced irrigation techniques and technology;
  • installing anti-filtration coatings in canals;
  • integrated and partial reconstruction (modernization) of irrigation systems.

S.Yakubzod in the report on food security and the improvement of water use efficiency made analysis of population growth in the region’s countries and forecast for 2050. The highest growth of 57.6% is expected in Tajikistan. In other countries this growth will achieve: 43.3% - Uzbekistan; 38.8% - Turkmenistan; and 26.4% - Kyrgyzstan. The total population in the region (excluding Afghanistan) will be 75.7 million against 59 million at present. In this context, the following is proposed in order to achieve food security:

  • effective agricultural production development policy and cropping patterns aimed to supply people with food;
  • regular improvement of water and land productivity by applying intensive technology of agricultural production;
  • development of a framework for tax and legal incentives encouraging to use the highly effective and water saving technologies in growing crops;
  • regular expansion of irrigation land area according to the population growth.

In order to increase water productivity, we have to develop a long-term program for increasing the effectiveness of water and land use, including solution of the next problems:

  • complete transition to the basin principle of management and establishment of basin governance for management of canals and widely involvement of all water users into water management;
  • reconstruction, rehabilitation and modernization of irrigation and drainage systems at the inter- and on-farm levels in order to improve efficiency of systems and management;
  • finalization of the process of establishing Water User Associations on the basis of private farms and at on-farm level;
  • improvement of framework and approaches in water resources management at all levels;
  • application of differentiated charges for water services; improvement of economic mechanism for water resources management;
  • creation of suitable conditions for organization of production and implementation of water saving technology allowing for application of nutrients together with irrigation water and for significant increase of crop yields.
  • implementation of improved irrigation technologies, including application of conventional furrow irrigation allowing for decreased surface and drainage outflows on the fields.
  • organization of professional training system for hydraulic engineers and training for irrigators;
  • development and implementation of the system of material and moral incentives for water saving at all hierarchical levels of water management;
  • regional and national water sector development strategies coordinated with agricultural production development.

In agricultural production:

  • development of an economical model and legislative support for it’s adoption for the balanced and stable turn-over of capital in irrigated agriculture, taking into account, as far as possible, all numerous factors.
  • development of enforcement system for obligatory allocation of a certain part of farms’ income for O&M of irrigation and drainage systems.
  • government economic support for farms situated in the pumping irrigation area; granting of soft loans to them for application of water saving technologies.
  • revision of cropping patterns aiming at high-yielding crops, subject to local and international markets, especially in the pumping irrigation area.
  • establishment of agroservice and consulting centers (extension services) to support farmers with:
    • application of highly efficient agricultural machinery;
    • marketing of high-quality seeds, fertilizers, and sale of produced products;
    • research and development of recommendations for the improvement of soil fertility;
    • development of measures to control agricultural pests and apply pesticides safely;
    • application of water saving and land leveling technologies;
    • organization of training for farmers.

K.Ataliyev made report on behalf of the Minister for Water Resources of Turkmenistan M.Akmamedov on sustainable drainage water management at transboundary level. He showed by analyzing dynamics of water and land use in the Aral Sea basin that given the total regional withdrawal amount of 106 billion m3, about 30 billion m3 were collector-drainage water, of which 16-17 billion m3 were discharged into rivers, 10-11 billion m3 were delivered to natural depressions, and 4-5 billion m3 were re-used for irrigation. Discharge of such huge quantities of saline collector-drainage water and accompanying salts in an amount of 110-120 Mt has led to river water deterioration. Water salinity increased by 0.2-0.3 g/l in the upstream, by 0.5-0.7 g/l in the midstream, and by 1.0-1.5 g/l in the downstream.

Irrigation water salinity increase by each 0.1 g/l, against initial value, causes productivity damage, which varies from 134 to 147 US$/ha in mid- and down-stream in Amudarya basin and 70-150 US$/ha in the same reaches in Syrdarya basin.

Current generation of such quantity of collector-drainage water is related mainly to poor efficiency of irrigation methods and technique, as well as to irrigation technology. Therefore, when developing measures for sustainable drainage flow management, major efforts should be aimed at water conservation and general reduction of unproductive irrigation water losses and, accordingly, of drainage flow from irrigated hectare.

Similar problems were addressed by Sh.Khamrayev in his report on the role of land reclamation for socio-economic progress in Uzbekistan and the government support to water sector. Given the total irrigation area of about 4.3 Mha in Uzbekistan, more than 3 Mha need artificial drainage to avoid salinization and water-logging and only 2.9 Mha are provided with drainage. Drainage infrastructure is comprised of horizontal drainage, with the total length of about 138 thousand km (including 31 thousand km of inter-farm, 68 thousand km of on-farm, and 39 thousand km of subsurface drainage) and vertical drainage, including 3.5 thousand wells on 380 thousand ha. Uzbekistan is the only country in the region, which allocates government funds for regular repair and renewal of drainage systems. Despite this fact, about half of existing drainage needs repair or reconstruction. In this context, as land reclamation is very important for raising water and land productivities, a special National Land Reclamation Fund was established under umbrella of the Ministry of Finance in 2007 in order to finance and organize work for drainage cleaning and reconstruction.

Proceeding from this positive experience, it should be noted that one important objective for socio-economic stability, food and water-environmental security in the region is to organize special efforts for maintaining stability of land fund by:

  • attracting attention of decision-makers to issues related to drainage, its maintenance and development;
  • searching for public and private (land and water users) partnerships for rehabilitation, repair, operation and maintenance of drainage under transfer to market economy;
  • training people (operators and water users) in efficient management of irrigation and drainage water, as well as soil regimes for effective crop growing with reduced water inputs and application of cheap draining methods;
  • organizing management of collector-drainage water, its quantity and discharge regimes, and control of this water limitation within the basin and basin organizations.

Experience of basin water organizations (BWO) for Amudarya and Syrdarya was addressed in the reports of Yu. Khudaibergenov and M.Khamidov. Those organizations, being the executive bodies of ICWC, are responsible for daily management of releases from reservoirs, water supply from interstate sources by national agencies, for operation of hydroschemes and intake structures, and implement measures for environmental improvement and water quality monitoring.

Issues of capacity building and training in IWRM implementation for achieving socio-economic stability through higher productivities of water and land use in the region were raised in the report of ICWC Training Center’s Director P.Umarov.

The participants also showed great interest to presentations of foreign reporters.

Dr. L. Brefort dedicated his report to water-energy nexus among five countries in the region and to elaboration of proposals for its improvement by analyzing water-energy balance and establishing a consortium for management of water and energy flows with maximum economic benefit for all. By studying international experience in 260 agreements for transboundary waterways, of which only 44 had downstream countries sharing the benefits with upstream, he gave recommendations for the improvement of the Framework Agreement 1998 on Syrdarya between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.

Besides, a four-stage plan of actions is proposed for establishment of water-energy consortium. At the first stage, a forum is needed for discussion of water-energy trade issues. Here scientific research should be conducted in order to:

  • determine water and energy exchanges between the states, harmonize legal framework and regulatory practices of this nexus and prepare proposals on new investment projects;
  • seek financing for projects of regional significance;
  • debate possible solutions at the technical level and reach consensus on them.

At the second stage, a group of national experts is created. Those exports are empowered by their Governments to sign interstate agreements on water and energy trade. The third stage consists in establishment of an international joint-stock company that operates the nationally-owned assets associated with water and energy trade. The JSC:

  • operates the assets according to regionally agreed rules;
  • negotiates and signs fuel purchases and power sales/transmission agreements;
  • finances operation and maintenance of existing assets;
  • prepares detailed feasibility studies for rehabilitation and new investment for consideration by the owners of the assets.

At the forth stage, an international holding is created. This Holding owns and operates the assets associated with water and energy trade. The Holding on least-cost regional investment policy and on individual projects in the countries concerned; finances investments in existing and in new assets; owns and operates the new assets. The report of Prof. S.Vinogradov on water security, international conflicts and international water law was presented in four dimensions:

  • global and regional security;
  • new security dimension - water security;
  • transboundary water resources and international conflicts;
  • international water law and regime of transboundary water resources in Central Asia.

Those problems are significant since the world accommodates 263 international basins that cover 50% of the earth’s surface, hold 60% of surface water and affect the interest of 40% of the world’s population in 145 countries. Some of these river basins are Danube (17 states), Nile (10 states), Congo, Niger, Rhine, and Zimbabwe (9 states), and Aral Sea (6 states).

Under these conditions, the only main tool resolving contradictions and avoiding conflicts is an international agreement, which follows the principles of international water law:

  • equitable and reasonable use;
  • obligation not to do considerable harm;
  • obligation to notify about planned measures that could have significant impact
  • obligation to exchange information;
  • obligation to settle disputes in a pacific manner.

Thus, the major objective of such agreement is to create legal and institutional frameworks of water, energy, environmental, and economic collaboration in specific waterway. This would ensure sustainable use of water resources and, finally, economic development in the basin and improvement of living conditions for people who depend on water resources.

Representatives of the German ZEF University, Bonn and the Canadian Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI), Montreal demonstrated results of their respective projects on-going in the region.

Presentation of Dr. J.Lamers addressed issues of food security improvement under conditions of irrigated agriculture in Khorezm province, Uzbekistan. The studies were accompanied by training of students (bachelor, master, and post-graduate). Through cotton, grain, vegetables and fruits were examined, wheat was studied in details. The conditions of grain cultivation were examined in various soil salinities, irrigation schedules and methods, fertilization and an impact of these factors on crop yields and produced grain quality was studied.

Presentation of Dr. A.Shankar was dedicated to providing assistance to dehkan farms in Sogd province, Tajikistan under the Facilitating Agricultural Reform and Marketing (FARMS) Project. The overall activity of the project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency is to create and strengthen Water Users’ Associations (WUA) so that farmers can operate, manage, and make the investment decision needed to maintain and improve irrigation management in their farms. The major program objective is developing the capacity of WUAs to manage local water delivery systems, using sound business practices, and democratic principles.

Also project focuses on establishment and strengthening of farmers’ irrigation management that receives and pays for water by volume. For this project is supporting Dehkan farms with installation of water measurement devises and train irrigation specialists from among Dehkan farms members. Project officials are training the farmers in the rational use of water and promote new management technology.

Presentation of Dr. M.Genovese on «International Scientific Cooperation activities in FP7» addressed organization and strengthening of partnership between the EU science and third countries’ scientists and researchers in order to support advanced research on the following ten themes:

  1. Health
  2. Food, agriculture and biotechnology
  3. Information and communication technologies
  4. Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies
  5. Energy
  6. Environment (including climate change)
  7. Transport (including aeronautics)
  8. Socio-economic sciences and the humanities
  9. Space
  10. Security

The participants had a possibility to acquaint themselves with proposal submission conditions and procedures for joint projects on food and water security, land and water productivity, and socio-economic stability.

S.Bednaruk made a report on experience in controlling structures of Volzhski-Kamsk cascade of reservoirs and issues of socio-economic and environmental stability in the Volga region, demonstrating achievements of Russian colleagues on example of one most driest and socially tense objects. Management is performed using special information-analytical software for river basin modeling ÅÑÎÌÀG, which consists of the following blocks: database (relief; soil; vegetation; pollutants; climate, etc.), basic GIS information (layered digital model), modeling, and GIS-based analysis of modeling outputs. On-line information incoming through Rosgidromet, Master Station (MS) and Basin Water Organization (BWO) is collected in the on-line database of Information-Analytical Center using ÅÑÎÌÀG, where operation of reservoir cascade is simulated and proposals for operation regimes are developed. Those proposals are submitted to the Agency “Rosvodresursy” and discussed by inter-agency task-force, which represents all stakeholders (hydropower, irrigation, navigation, water supply and sanitation, fishery, flood control), and then a decision-makes gives instructions to MS.

Similar information-advising system is created on the basis of Regional Information Center of SIC ICWC, BWO “Syrdarya” and BWO “Amudarya” for management of water resources in the Aral Sea basin.

Besides the key reports, the following participants from the Aral Sea basin’s countries made their presentations: A.Nurushev from EC IFAS - Kazakhstan; N.Mamataliyev from Kyrgyz branch of SIC ICWC - Kyrgyzstan; A.Kamolitdinov from Tajik branch of SIC ICWC - Tajikistan; academician A.Babayev from the Institute of Desert, A.Mukhamedov from the Ministry of Water Resources - Turkmenistan; E.Makhmudov from Institute of Water Problems, T.Kamalov from Gosvodnadzor, E.Kurbanbayev from Scientific-Production Association “Eco-Prearalie”, U.Buranov from GEF Agency, and S.Nerozin from SPA SANIIRI - Uzbekistan.

Regional presentations of SIC’s staff V.Sokolov, A.Tuchin, and A.Sorokin addressed IWRM theory and modeling tools for IWRM implementation on example of river basins under different development scenarios.

All the presentations made their contribution to better understanding of problems faced in the Aral Sea basin and searching ways for their solution in favor of food supply, energy and environmental security both in national and regional interests.