Organisational Structure of WUAs
Unlike in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, there is no specific law on WUAs in Uzbekistan (Gunchinmaa and Yakubov 2010, p. 173). The legal basis for their status and organisation is provided primarily by the Cabinet of Ministers' Decree No.8, approved in 2002, which determines WUAs as the entity responsible for irrigation management at on-farm level in Uzbekistan. Subsequently, the reformed national Water and Water Use Act of 29 December 2009 clarified the role of WUAs, specifying for instance that WUAs are required to deal with internal conflicts relating to water distribution amongst water users (Art. 2.1) and that they should cooperate with state agencies in protecting and conserving water (Art. 10). National policy guidelines require WUAs to be organised around two units: a decision-making body and a management body (ADB 2006). Figure 11.1 provides an example of the typical structure of a WUA in Uzbekistan. The upper
Fig. 11.1 Internal structure of a typical WUA in Uzbekistan (Source: ADB 2006)
part of the hierarchy comprises the general assembly, the WUA council and the audit committee; the lower part comprises the management team of chairman and specialist staff.
The supreme governing body of the WUA is the general assembly. The policy guideline specifies that the assembly should meet twice a year, when all members of the WUA are invited and encouraged to participate. When a member is unable to attend, he/she assigns a representative (usually a neighbouring farmer in the same WUA) to report on key messages emerging from the meeting. The main topics of discussion include electing a chairman, determining irrigation service fees (ISFs), evaluating the performance of the WUA management team and identifying the dates for maintaining on-farm irrigation canals through khashars, voluntary action of groups of people living in the community. In her study, Zavgorodnyay (2006) points to the fact that, in practice, the general assembly does not play a major role in the decision-making process. Instead, the chairman closely collaborates with the director of local machinery tractor parks (which provide agricultural machinery services to WUA members) and the head of the village citizens' assembly to reach decisions (ibid).
The primary task of a WUA council is to supervise and monitor the financial and technical activities of the WUA. Members of the WUA council work without salaries and are required to meet at least once a month. Typically, a WUA council has about five members elected by the assembly. The task of the audit committee is to conduct an annual review of all financial records and bank transfers of the WUA. The committee members are elected during the general assembly meeting and they report directly to the assembly. A WUA accountant assists the committee during the assessment.
Additionally, there is a WUA management team to manage a WUA's activity on a daily basis. This team includes the WUA manager, elected by the general assembly, an accountant and technical staff (e.g. mirab – or “water master” – and engineers), with its activities paid for through ISFs. The manager's responsibility is to handle irrigation-related activities in the WUA territory, identify potential irrigation canals to be maintained and initiate khashars, prepare the annual budget of the WUA and calculate irrigation service fees (ISFs) for both members (farmers) and non-members (e.g. local households). The WUA accountant is responsible for the overall financial activities of the association. He/she is in charge of collecting ISFs.