"Field visit of Integrated Water Resources Management project"

Nowadays one of the global problems becomes deficiency of water. This fact proves to be true by a drought in Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, and other countries. Scientists, practice of all world struggle with the decision of rational use of water resources. There are specified groundwork’s which cause steadfast interest of the countries of a droughty region.

In our country had conducted scientific development in this direction for a long time and reached certain successes. However, to refuse of world experience Uzbekistan does not gather.
Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Zarafshan River Basin (IWRM) - a joint project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan and the UN Development Program - organized a field visit to the project area in Samarkand province on July 29-31, 2011. Participants were representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection, Centre of Hydro-Meteorological Service, Institute GIDROINGEO, "Uzcommunkhizmat” Agency, "Uzbekenergo", Institute of Water Problems and Ecological movement.  
Through meeting with the staff of the pumping station "Mekhnatobod III" in Pastdargom district, local households, farmers and discussion with local authorities about chronic water shortages, participants improved their understanding of present issues in the project area, which are common in other areas of the river basin. After discussions with community members, participants noted the potential benefits from project implementation, which will result in a timely delivery of water to farms and households, energy efficiency, decrease of operation and maintenance costs, water saving and improved welfare of local community. Particularly, implementation of this pilot project will restore more than 150 hectares of farms which have been withdrawn due to lack of water. Preliminary calculations show that the annual water supply will increase approximately on 3.5 million m3, operating costs decrease by more than 82.7 million sums, and 38 private farms and 240 households will increase their income by 395 million sums.
Field visit was followed by a Project Board Meeting, where participants learned about the intermediary results and further plans of the project. In his presentation, Mr. Ulugbek Islamov, project manager, stressed that “IWRM is a long-term process, which will require political will, in-depth understanding and application of IWRM principles, consistent steps and active participation of all stakeholders".
Further, project staff presented their plans about rehabilitation of the pumping station and its water distribution system, raising awareness of local communities about effective water management and energy saving techniques with special emphasis on increasing the role of women in managing water resources. Additional presentations were made on the gaps in the water legislation, draft of a new water code, and objectives and implementation methodology of Environmental Strategy. «We hope IWRM project will lead to concrete results which people of Uzbekistan can benefit from» - said Mr. Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in conclusion of the Project Board Meeting.
This field visit is an important step in sharing the project success, encouraging stakeholders to take part in IWRM activities and increasing their sense of ownership.
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The joint project UNDP Uzbekistan and Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan on “Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Zarafshan River Basin” is a part of the UNDP Environment and Energy portfolio which works is to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for the water sector, and to support the integration of water into relevant intersectoral policy frameworks. IWRM and water efficiency use planning will take place within a single  river basin, the Zarafshan, on a pilot basis where successful results can be scaled up to the national level during a possible second phase program.

G.Kudaybergenova {jcomments on}