Persistence and Change Within Uzbekistan's Water Management
Given these major challenges, it is surprising how many elements of a powerful reluctance to change can be observed in the Fergana Valley. The institutional set-up has maintained its overall control over all operations despite opening up to world market conditions for the export of cotton and its processed products and in spite of a quest for privatisation in land holdings. The farmer seems to be the least involved actor in making any decisions about cultivation patterns, timing of water allocation and selection of agricultural inputs. Water user associations have given a new name to the old control mechanism. The water management system in Fergana seems to be the least in line with the changed conditions and with the changing conditions of a growing population and expanding demands of the up-and-coming generation. The latest report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) (2011) on “water pressures in Central Asia” states that “[t]he concerns Crisis Group identified in 2002 – inadequate infrastructure, poor water management and outdated irrigation methods – remain unaddressed, while the security environment is bleaker”. The ICG recommends to the governments sharing the Fergana Valley: “Commit to resolving border demarcation problems without using water or energy as a coercive factor; facilitate cross-border cooperation between police forces and form a tripartite intraregional council to oversee day-to-day management of water and land resources parallel to high-level border delimitation negotiations”. The hydraulic constraints that were imposed on Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan after independence remain to be the result of path-dependent developments from Tsarist and Soviet legacies. Rescaling could become a necessity if no consensus among neighbours can be accomplished that serves the purpose. Rescaling is a major challenge in changing the rules of the game within respective countries. It seems that practical measures to address the challenges of rescaling the water management system require a transformative spirit from both inside and outside of the Fergana Valley.
-  See the detailed Europe and Central Asia Report No. 233, released on 9 September 2014 at crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/central-asia/233-water-pressures-in-central-asia.aspx?utm_ source=central-asia-report&utm_medium=1&utm_campaign=mremail (=tinyurl.com/ ocbbkln) and accessed on 12 September 2014