Supporting local transboundary water management

Experience has shown that conflicts are more likely to emerge on the local level than on the interstate level. While the big transboundary rivers receive more attention, donors have also started to support the joint management of small transboundary rivers and canals in border regions. Since 2001, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC has been funding a programme on the introduction of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles in the Ferghana Valley. It is implemented by the Scientific Information Centre of ICWC, in cooperation with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in the Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek parts of the valley. The objective is to reorganize the water management organizations within hydrographic boundaries, introduce public participation in decision making and improve water allocation mechanisms among the users. The programme also includes technical measures for saving water and increasing agricultural productivity, as well as automated operational systems along the canals, coupled with data transmission for improving water flow stability and water allocation transparency. In its pilot areas, the program was able to achieve up to 20% water saving – essentially with institutional reform and increased awareness of water officials and capacity of users.[See http://www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/centralasia/en/Home/Regional_Activities/Integrated_Water_ Resources_Management.]

Within the «Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia Program», the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has one component that focuses especially on small transboundary rivers that are particularly suited to applying the basic principles of river basin management. In the Isfara and Khodzhabakirgan Basins shared by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the programme has been supporting both countries in joint transboundary river basin planning and management. A framework agreement on the establishment of a Joint Water Commission to coordinate and administrate these river basins has been drafted. Both countries collect, store and operate their data on these rivers in a compatible way.[See www.waterca.org.]