The round table was organized by the Committee on Water Resources of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and CWP-Kazakhstan.
The round table was attended by experts, and representatives of NGOs, research institutes, departments and committees of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning, the Ministry of Emergency Response, the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, the Ministry of Agriculture.
The goals of national consultation were as follows:
- Raising awareness of decision-makers and public about SDGs and measures undertaken at the national and local level;
- Developing proposals on priorities at the national, regional and global level;
- Considering the National Program on Water Resources Management in Kazakhstan for 2014-2020;
- Working out a common understanding on national issues and proposals for strengthening water policy.
The round table agenda included the following issues:
- Crucial problems of Kazakhstan: sustainable water supply, water quality, environmentally sound water use:
- Ways of solving problems and the approach to sustainable development and utilization of water resources;
- Water Sector Development Program for Sustainable Development in Kazakhstan;
- "Green Economy" for Water Sector in Kazakhstan;
- National Policy in Water Resources Management: institutional fundamentals, legal regulation, economical mechanism of water use and water resources protection;
- International cooperation in use and protection of Transboundary Rivers.
Participants were informed about national water policy and new National Program on Water Resources Management agreed by all the public authorities. The Program is aimed to avoid water deficit up to 2020 and based on the water analysis up to 2042. It includes the irrigation systems modernization, construction of new dams (about 40), the program "Ak-Bulak", transboundary water allocation, national diversion of runoff etc.
The Program goal is water security of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Program tasks:
- Sustainable water supply of population and economy;
- Providing safe, reliable operation of existing and creation of new water management systems for water regulation;
- Inter-sectoral coordination on water management issues;
- Improving water legislation;
- Improving management of river basins;
- Maintaining a healthy environment of rivers and aquatic ecosystems;
- Improvement and development of inter-state cooperation on transboundary rivers;
- Training of young water professionals.
Participants emphasized the following problems:
- less than 1/5 of water resources volume will be available in 2030;
- Kazakhstan will meet water resources deficit at the basin level amounted 13 billion cubic meters at the cost of 2 billion dollars USA in 2030;
- water inflow from the neighboring countries is being reduced to 2-3% per year and this tendency will continue up to 2030;
- water contamination in Kazakhstan is significantly more than in the developed countries.
Conclusion and recommendations
The round table participants noted that work at the basin level is needed to be strengthened drastically, including financial support of the Basin Council and its higher status and competence, as well as increasing role of water users.
The round table participants noted that creation of the National Water Council at the President of Kazakhstan is needed.
They also noted that the amount of runoff must be fixed in the existing and future agreements with neighboring countries and these agreements must be implemented.
Participants criticized strongly a decision to create "Kazvodkhoz" organization and additional national companies, which in their opinions will be unnecessary agents with inflated staff requiring finance.
Participants after discussion recommended the following:
1) Save water by all the economy sectors by means of better governance and new technologies as well international trade;
2) Protect water ecosystems and related water ones in Central Asia because they are main sources of water for Economy, Nature and population;
3) Solving transboundary problems with neighboring countries, developing new mechanisms for cooperation including for Green Economy and the International Programme "Green Bridge".
The National Program on Water Resources Management in Kazakhstan for 2014-2020 was approved on 4 April 2014.