Country Consultations on Water Speak to post-2015 Agenda in Tajikistan

The Intersectoral roundtable "Country Consultations on Water Speak to post-2015 Agenda" was held on 7 March 2014 in Dushanbe at the Institute of Water Problems, Energy and Environment of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan. The roundtable was organized by CWP-Tajikistan jointly with the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan under support of GWP CACENA.

Participants (Total: 42 people) were gathered from the following organizations of the Republic of Tajikistan: Government, Parliament, Ministry of Hydropower and Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, State Committee of Environment Protection, Agency on Land Reclamation and Irrigation , Committee on Emergency Situation and Civil Defense, Chief Directorate on Geology, Governmental Unitary Enterprise "Housing and Municipal Economy", Academy of Sciences, Tajik Agrarian University, Tajik branch of SIC ICWC, Tajik branch of EC IFAS, Tajik branch of REC CA, CWP-Tajikistan, LTd "Civil Initiative Foundation", as well as UNDP, UNICEF and others.

The Roundtable was based on the document prepared by UN-Water jointly with GWP. The following priority themes were discussed:


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Participants noted that one of the priority development spheres for Post-2015 is a healthy population. It will decrease poverty. A healthy population can be achieved by access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all, and improving of water quality and service standards Currently drinking water supply for population is provided for 52.3% of population (90% - for urban population; 47% - for rural population).   Access to centralized water supply service in the rural area is provided for 20% of population. Others use water from various sources that don't meet epidemiologic requirements. Existing water supply infrastructure was built 40-50 years ago. More than 50% of water-supply network and pumping stations are not working. The problem is aggravated by electricity deficit in the winter.

Progress for the past years in this sphere:

- Tajikistan is chosen as a pilot country for assessment of demands to achieve MDGs;

- The law "About drinking water and drinking water supply" is adopted;

- Discussing issues on drinking water supply and sanitation within the National Dialogue on Water Policy related to IWRM;

- Drinking water supply item is included into the Strategy on reforming water sector;

- The National Program on improving the safe drinking water supply for population for 2008-2020 is approved. Nevertheless its implementation is going slowly because of financial and technical problems.

 Recommended actions to achieve SDG for Post-2015:

  • Facilitate the implementation of the State Program on Improving Drinking Water Supply for Population in Tajikistan in 2008-2020 
  • Organizational, technical and financial measures to improve the "water-sanitation-hygiene" system


Governance and Water Resources Management  

Participants noted that governance in the water sector is based on the combination of basin and administrative-territorial governance principles and implemented by the Government, the local executive authorities, as well as specially authorized state bodies regulating the use and protection of water.

            Tajikistan is in the process of transition to the IWRM principles. For institutional sustainable development, and improving socio-economic conditions  the following is planned: 

  •  water management shifting to the basin principle;
  • establishing management organizations within river basins;
  • separation of political function from  economic one within water resources management;
  • transfer of authority to manage water resources from the lower levels of water infrastructure to associations and federations of water users;
  • ensuring the participation of water users in decision-making.


Water Quality and Wastewater Management

Experts pointed out that pollution of surface and groundwater is due to deterioration and poor technical condition of a significant part of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Collector - drainage water is a significant volume of return water coming to rivers and annually up to 40% of water withdrawals for irrigation. Отмечено, что The most area of irrigated land in Tajikistan (about 75%) is non-saline, and return water is not greatly impair  water quality in rivers. Due to lack of pumping equipment, siltation of wells, irregular power supply, 50% of the wells are not working.

Recommendations: As the economy  of country recovers and with the technical assistance of international organizations in the future, the following activity is planned to be performed:

  • Renovation and construction of environmental engineering projects;
  • Creation of measuring stations to control  quantity and quality of waters, especially waste- and drainage- waters;
  • Implementation of soil conservation and water-saving irrigation technologies (sprinkling, drip, tubular, etc.);
  • Rehabilitation of existing and construction of new  industrial laboratories to control wastewater;
  • Development and applying of water quality criteria for various water users at the national and regional levels;
  • Implementation of the State program "Safe drinking water" and attracting investment to infrastructure rehabilitation and development;
  • Strengthening the capacity of the sanitary-epidemiological service to monitor drinking water quality.


Water related disasters

  In Tajikistan, natural disasters related to water are presented in the form of flooding and erosion of coastal areas of the rivers; mudflows and landslides.

Floods and mudflows arise as a result of heavy rains, intense snowmelting, breaking of mountain lakes. Over 10 years there were 149 landslides, 291 floods, 686 mudflows and 98 avalanches. Most often floods occur in the river basins of Panj, Kyzylsu and Yakhsu.

The biggest problem for Tajikistan - a threat as a result of breaking of Lake Sarez. The lake is a huge potential risk of flooding for countries in the Amu Darya river basin (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Tajikistan, having no program of flood control, as well as the absence of adequate material and technical base, for many years has fighting the effects of floods. Waterworks security is important for control of water and natural disasters.

Recommendations: Effective management of flood and mudflow phenomena requires the development and use of long-term flood management strategy in Tajikistan, consisting in turn of organizational measures and construction:

  • Modern methods of forecasting floods and mudflows;
  • Study and zoning and mapping of flood and mudflow areas;
  • Regular training of local community and administration to raise awareness and preparedness to natural disasters;
  • Developing a long-term program for resettlement of local population from potential flood and mudflow areas;
  • Institutional reform that takes into account an integrated approach to flood management;
  • Intergovernmental cooperation on prevention and control of floods and mudflows;
  • Coast-protecting structure on riverbanks destroyed by floods and mudflow to prevent further erosion processes;
  • Construction of new gauging stations at appropriate places for flood prevention.


Climate Change and recommendations for water sector adaptation

Participants noted that climate changes in the past decade had the most significant effect on water resources and water bodies. The fate of millions of people in Central Asia depends on glaciers' state and rainfall amount in the mountains. According to  "Tajikhydromet" while the current rate of glaciers retreat will be constant, many small glaciers in the next 30-40 years will completely disappear in Tajikistan. Degradation of glaciers can  strongly affect the water regime of rivers.

Adaptation measures should take into account the specificities of all sectors related to water resources use:

Water Supply. Recommendations: decreasing water losses in the pipeline network  as much as possible;  attaining the water use rate by population to adopted ones; implementing water cycle; decreasing water supply rate; define a limited water delivery; conducting explanatory work among population; training of population on re-use of municipal water.

Irrigation and Drainage.  Recommendations: developing the long-term strategy on implementation of water saving technologies for irrigation; planning infrastructure; increasing efficiency of irrigation canals; applying the differentiated water delivery tariffs to stimulate water saving; construction of mudflow protection facilities, flood control waterworks to reduce natural disasters: expanding the zone of forests in catchment areas of the rivers; development of water-retaining soil treatment technologies; cultivation of  crops with low-water requirement; snow retention, implementation of supplemental irrigation and deep tillage of soil.

Industry. Using water circulation system, which is now a major requirement for water-intensive technologies.

Water Ecosystem Protection. Recommendations:

  • biological and chemical treatment of wastewater;
  • implementation of  land reclamation, soil protection, agroforestry and cultivating to provide environment security;
  • limiting economic activity in the natural areas of preferential protection;
  • strengthening environmental expertise of projects related to water use in the water resources deficit areas.

Because adaptation to climate change in each country depends on available technical and economic potential therefore all the water saving measures and projects h in Tajikistan have a regional status. So this factor shall be taken into consideration by investors and regional countries.


Hydraulic Power Industry

Participants noted that the main priority for Tajikistan and factor for development of all sectors (agriculture, water resources, environment protection and other sectors) is  the energy security of the country.  

In Tajikistan MDGs are not achievable if  public and industry will not be provided with electricity. In this regard, hydropower engineering should be developed in the following manners:

  • hydropower should develop in integrated way in the interests of electric power, irrigation, flood control, fisheries, recreation, technical and domestic water supply;
  • improve the efficiency of electricity generation and rely on the own resources in the long-term investment policy;
  • a policy that provides payment for services and damages associated with flow regulation for irrigation in Central Asia;
  • modernization and reconstruction of existing power plants and energy system;
  • development of regional and, in general, international cooperation for the development of hydropower resources of Tajikistan.

There are emphasized another important priorities (along with higher recommended) like development of fisheries; urbanization; recreation; industrial bottling of fresh, mineral and medicinal water.