Water Resources Management in the Fergana Valley

Water resources in FV are predominantly of a transboundary nature. Most of the region's surface water resources are generated in the mountains of the upstream countries Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Figure 10.4 shows the main irrigation and drainage systems in the valley and, indeed, provides an insight into the complexity of this unique water management system. Taking into account the dozens of large and hundreds of small towns; thousands of rural settlements with various industrial, utility and other enterprises; thousands of kilometres of irrigation and drainage systems and dozens of reservoirs and pump stations available within the seven provinces of the three riparian countries in this scheme, one can understand that harmonising the management system is not only difficult but also the collection, comparison and assessment of data from various water resources are also key and challenging tasks in themselves.

At present, the main problems in managing the existing irrigation infrastructure in FV are linked to the following shortcomings and constraints:

• The state maintains administrative governance and financial support for the upper layer of water hierarchy without involving the integrated water resources management (IWRM) mechanisms at a national level. Moreover, local stakeholders' engagement in water management within the vertical hierarchy meets resistance from the state.

• The establishment of water user associations (WUAs) and canal management organisations with involvement of the community in the form of a union of canal water users (UCWU) and canal water committees (CWC) has certain effects on the enhancement of uniformity, stability and water supply. However, institutional restructuring is impossible without a strong legal framework. In general, the financial, organisational, legal and technical aspects of these institutions have not been solved (including WUA support by Ministries of Agriculture and Water Management).

• There are no contractual obligations and methodical interrelationships between basin administrative irrigation systems (BAIS), hydrogeologic melioration expeditions (HGME), administrative irrigation systems (AIS) and WUAs.

Fig. 10.4 Irrigation and drainage network in the Fergana Valley (Source: author's composition from three BAIS maps Uzbekistan)

• Land degradation and control measures are weakly monitored.

• Consequently, issues of practical support for farmers and end water users in improving land and water productivity have not been solved.

• There is no general programme on water saving taking into account climate change.

• Water accounting and hydrometrics at all water hierarchy levels from transboundary rivers to the ultimate water user should become a strategic objective.

• There are no informational systems and software packages to solve operational water distribution tasks at both canal level and WUA level.

• The majority of the irrigation and drainage infrastructures are outdated and require frequent maintenance and repairs and, consequently, huge investment.

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