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Baratali Koshmatov
Director General, Department for Water Resources,
Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Processing Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

Dear Mr. Chairman!

Let me express gratitude to the Government of Turkey for the support in organization and holding of given Forum at high level!

This Forum enables to all whose business is water, to exchange information on the state-of-affairs in water sector and address challenges to be met in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Our small mountainous republic is located within an area, where such rivers as Syrdarya, Amudarya, Chu, Talas, Tarim, and Karkyra are formed. The runoff of these rivers is intensively used by both Kyrgyzstan and its neighboring states – Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – for drinking needs, irrigation, energy generation, and industrial production.

In early 90s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, like all former Soviet republics, Kyrgyzstan faced a number of problems and, particularly, those related with under-financing of water sector. This has led to rapid deterioration of the state of water infrastructure, lack of possibility to secure stable water supply from hydrostructures at both national and interstate level. A security threat arose for population living in large reservoir and dam areas.

Besides, as already mentioned, the republic is located within a zone of flow formation in the Aral Sea basin. Therefore, there arises a need for measures on conservation of flow formation zone , with consequent afforestation, rehabilitation, development of monitoring over river water quantity and quality, hydrometeorological parameters, including the state of glaciers. Obviously, efforts undertaken by our republic are not enough.

Moreover, recently, we have observed deterioration of irrigated lands and waterlogging of settlements due to rise in groundwater level. This is a direct consequence of unsatisfactory conditions of collector-drainage network, and this is also a problem, for which solution the republic has to search for additional funds.

In this context, our Government undertook certain measures to increase budget financing, attract loan proceeds. Here, it is necessary to note cooperation with such financial organizations, such as the UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union, USAID, JAIKA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Government of Japan.

However, despite the efforts made, the following problems remain unsolved: underfinancing of the sector; unsatisfactory state of hydrostructures; lack of inflow of young specialists; reduction in research efforts in area of water use, irrigation, land reclamation, etc.

Kyrgyzstan, like other countries in the region, is devoted to the principles of integrated water resources use. In this context, we are planning to reform the water sector on the basis of developed countries’ experience.

To this end, we need a help and support from international institutions and organizations, as well as from neighboring countries.

Central Asia’s downstream countries receiving water from the upper reaches, cause severe damage to our economy, agriculture, water sector, and forestry. At present, their co-financing of conservation and improvement of flow formation zone is required.

I think that Kyrgyzstan is interested in rational water use in CA region and in sustainable development of cooperation among the Central Asian countries. However, downstream, neighboring countries should be concerned as well since we live in one country, and even more, in one basin of the Aral Sea!

I want to draw your attention on one good result of cooperation between the upstream and downstream countries, that is signing and implementation of Agreement between the Governments of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic on the use of interstate water objects on the rivers Chu and Talas. On the basis of this agreement, the bilateral Parity Commission was established and Kazakhstan shares the maintenance costs of hydrostructures located within the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Millennium Development Goals at global level

During the Millennium Summit, which was held in September 2000, the heads of 189 countries and governments reached a historical agreement on the Millennium Declaration, voicing the common goals and commitment to reduce poverty all over the world by 2015. Eradication of poverty, with all its indications such as lack of livelihoods, feminine, diseases, lack of adequate housing and isolation is the main task of Millennium Development Goals. While achieving these goals, gender equality, education, sustainable environmental development (rational natural resources use), and protection of basic human rights for free medical care, education, housing, and security are promoted as well.

Millennium Development Goals in Kyrgyzstan

The progress in achieving MDGs in Kyrgyzstan is variable. It is evident that probably Kyrgyzstan will be able to reduce poverty and infant mortality and to secure access to safe drinking water and environmental stability.

The public health reform in the Kyrgyz Republic has been carried out for 10 years (1996 - 2005) within the framework of National Public Health Reform Project “Manas”. The result of project Manas I was the development of healthcare model acknowledged all over the world and comprised of: basic health care and family medicine; restructurization of service standards; and new public health financing model. Nevertheless, general access to quality services of obstetrics and gynecology causes concern, especially in rural area. Despite the existing integrated system for controlling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, yet the country have to succeed in effective regulation and control of these diseases. Transparent boundaries were among the reasons of increased drug traffic, while uncontrolled labor migration, in turn, caused more vulnerability of the country to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

In 2003, UNDP in Kyrgyzstan in partnership with the Government prepared a fist National Report on MDGs. The second progress report is under completion and will contain analysis of achievement of tasks set by MDGs, based on gender disaggregation methodology.

At present, major water consumers in the Kyrgyz Republic are agriculture, industry and domestic sector. In 2005, the number of water consumers was 906, whereas in 2006 it was 789. Hence, the number of water consumers decreased by 117 due to economic reforms in the country.

In 2005, the total water consumption amounted to 7.89 km3, while in 2006 this indicator equaled 8.006 km3.

The comparative analysis of water use over 2005 – 2006 shows the following:

As to the state of drinking water supply, here one can say that the higher risk for people’s health is posed in many villages by irregular water supplies (hourly supply). This keeps from taking effective measures to arrange alternative supply in case of damage. According to the Millennium Development Goals, the system of monitoring over water-borne diseases in order to prevent and eradicate their episodes should facilitate to direct investments in highest risk zones and reduce two-fold by 2015 (as compared to 2002) the number of people lacking access to safe drinking water. However, actual allocation of ADB’s loans did not contributed to considerable improvement of water supply in most problematic regions of the republic, first of all, in Batkent, Djalalabad, and Osh provinces.

To change current situation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) gave a loan in an amount of 36 M$ for 2002-2007 under the project “Infrastructural services for settlements” for rehabilitation and construction of water pipes in 730 villages and 7 towns of Chui, Osh, Djalalabad, and Batkent provinces. The co-financing by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is 9 M$.

Similar project “Rural water supply and sanitation”, with the total cost of 24.5 M$ from the WB’s loan and the total duration from 2002 to 2007, also is aimed at rehabilitation and construction of rural water pipes in 270 villages of Issyk-Kul, Naryn, and Talas provinces. In total, taking into account the republic’s contribution, about 70 M$ are directed to the improvement of people’s access to safe drinking water. During six years, repair and rehabilitation work and construction of new water-supply projects were planned in 1000 villages and 7 towns. The general aim of the mentioned projects is also to improve rural water-supply infrastructure so that to achieve sustainable delivery of good-quality water to population at minimum costs and to reduce episodes of acute enteric infections among village residents.

As a result of increase in the cost of rural water supply component from 20 to 80$ per capita and after adjustment of ADB an WB projects, it is planned to embrace 300 villages in Osh, Djalalabat, Batkent, and Chui provinces and 200 villages in Naryn, Issyk-Kul and Talass provinces.

Role of irrigated agriculture

Agriculture remains a core driver in economic growth in Kyrgyzstan. Agricultural sector forms 40% of GDP, half of the whole employment and 17% of export.

1.1 million ha of the Kyrgyz lands are arable and account for only 7% of total area in the republic. Productivity of more than 70 % of arable lands depends on irrigation. Irrigated lands provide more than 90 % of agricultural production and are a strategic natural resource of Kyrgyzstan.

As for 1 January 2007 the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic is 19995,1 thousand ha.

As for 1 January 2007 in the Kyrgyz Republic 1232,3 thousand ha of available lands are of private property, 58,2 thousand ha are of municipal property and 18704,4 thousand ha of land belong to the Government.

At the present time use of agricultural lands is an acute issue. Unfavorable lands are increased everywhere due to lack of investments and maintenance of irrigation and drainage systems. In 2006 in the Kyrgyz Republic 141,1 thousand ha of arable lands or 11,0% of total arable area were not used as a result of various reasons (salinization, waterlogging, water shortage, lack of funds to purchase seed and combustive-lubricating materials, remoteness, economic irrationality).

In the republic total agricultural lands are 10766,4 thousand ha, 9176,1 thousand ha of which are rangelands, 1283,7 thousand ha are arable lands and remaining lands are used for other purposes.

Total irrigated area is 1020,6 thousand ha, 866,3 thousand ha of which is irrigated arable lands.

Climatic peculiarities of Kyrgyzstan cause mainly development of irrigated agriculture, which is the most productive one under the Kyrgyz conditions. Crop yields within rainfed lands are lower than on irrigated ones. For example, it averages 35 centner/ha for cereals within irrigated lands and 15 centner/ha within rainfed lands. Profit is also significantly different and averages 28% of profit from irrigated lands.

Land degradation and vulnerability of poor people

More than 60 % of people live in rural area and directly depend on quality of land and water resources. Thus, land degradation is a serious economic and social challenge related to environment and faced by the Kyrgyz Republic. Such challenge impacts directly on life of rural population by reducing productivity of agricultural lands as well as brings a baneful influence on sustainability, functionality and quality of resources being generated by natural ecosystem.

Land and water resources are natural resources required for survival as well as for well-being of rural population, in particular the poorest rural one. Land degradation challenge and its consequences such as salinization, waterlogging and irrigation erosion result from irrational use and distribution of irrigation water. Dependence of poor people on land resources makes them especially vulnerable to land degradation and its negative impacts. Land reserves have limits. Increased pressure on little amount of arable lands of Kyrgyzstan results in reduction of productivity and yield. Poor people are majority of informal manpower gaining livelihood directly or indirectly from land resources.

Therefore, ineffective use of land and water resources and severe degradation restrain agricultural development and alleviation of poverty rate.

There is need in government program to address this challenge and financial resources should be searched in form of grants for development and strengthening of Water Users Associations, peasant and individual farms, as since 90s latter ones have become ownerless and the government has no provided any support.

Water conservation

As a whole for the republic the lands potentially prone to erosion account for more than 85%. Stony and pebble area is about 450 thousand ha and rainfed lands come to 440 thousand ha.

In the republic irrigated area in submountain region prone to irrigation and wind erosions is more than 700 thousand ha. As for plain region 200 thousand ha are saline and 30 thousand ha are water-logged.

The Kyrgyz Research Irrigation Institute carried out research activities on water conservation within pilot sites in hillside lands of Chu Valley. This will allow not only saving water but facilitate improving land productivity and preventing erosion.

At the present time there is an urgent need to develop water conserving methods for irrigation technology for main regions in the republic.

Water as energy resource. Water conservation is a main way to survive

Wide-scale rehabilitation of water system in the Kyrgyz Republic is a crucial factor for further agricultural growth and sustainable building of production fund.

In the nearest time it is planned to improve technical condition of functioning irrigation systems, to develop and implement arrangements for forcing transition to water conserving methods for irrigation and rational water resources use. At the same time application of automation and water accounting in irrigation systems becomes of special importance. It allows saving irrigation water up to 40% and at the same time improving irrigation capacity of irrigation sources and thus increasing coefficient of land use and assuring labor productivity increase.

Agriculture intensification requires a comprehensive approach to design and construction of new objects and systems and to reconstruction of existing ones by using energy and resources conserving technologies. Water systems and objects have considerable reserves of renewable hydraulic power, which can be used also for other purposes.

The most important condition for effective operation of land reclamation system is an objective and operational water accounting. Based on it dispatching management of water withdrawal and water distribution is made, water regime is regulated in fields, operation and maintenance of certain structures and systems are performed. Water accounting is needed for studying land state and modernizing irrigation systems.

All irrigation systems in the Kyrgyz Republic regardless of construction, purpose, dimensions, operation have a number of specific characteristics. Hence, they can be deemed as one-type water accounting and automation systems.

Objective and operational water accounting with required accuracy of measurements is possible only by applying modern software facilities.

Today many technical facilities are proposed to be installed within water systems for water accounting and automation. Such facilities have been developed in the Kyrgyz Republic and meet state-of-the-art measuring technologies that will enable improving efficiency of operating entities.

Energy and environment

The Kyrgyz Republic created hydropower capacities - mainly on Naryn cascade - in form of national assets as compared to previous perception of these capacities as a by-product of water releases for irrigation. Energy consumption efficiency is very low in the republic, even under Central Asian criteria. This is attributed to inefficiency of energy transportation and lack of incentives to save energy in the private sector and by enterprises, as well as elementary stealing of electricity. Solution of those problems could contribute to sustainable land and water management.

For stable provision of population with energy resources, especially in winter time, currently the state focuses on the development of hydroenergy. It is planned to finish construction of Nijnenaryn reservoir cascade, first of all, of Kambarate HEPS 1 and 2. In this case, national electricity demand will be met in full and Toktogul waterworks facility could operation in irrigation regime, which downstream countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are interested in. And we hope on understanding on this matter.

In order to raise national economy, it is also necessary to pay attention to construction of medium and small HEPS in all the rivers in Kyrgyzstan.

Water management and basin approach

1. Water management is a comprehensive system of measures, standards and rules according to the Water Code and other standard legal acts regulating the development, use, and conservation of water resources and environment, the community health care, as well as protection of settlements, industrial sites and all ownership forms from hazardous water impact.

2. Basin approach implies that management of water use and protection is undertaken within the boundaries of main basin according to hydrographic principles. On the basis of proposals of National Council for Water, the Government of Kyrgyz Republic fixes jurisdiction of each basin water administration and basin council. Adopted decision is published in official press.

3. In each main basin, the basin water administration and basin council are responsible for certain aspects of water management, according to regulations of the Water Code.

4. Decisions of local authorities and territorial bodies of ministries and administrative departments are made according to the Article 5 of the Water Code and the basin approach to water management.

Water management principles

Water management is based on the following principles:

Aim and objectives of the Water Code

1. The Water Code regulates water relations in area of water use, conservation and development for guaranteed, adequate and safe water supply to population of the republic, as well as in area of environmental conservation and efficient development of national water fund.

2. The Water Code establishes:

Water rights of users

Water right of users is regulated by the Water Code.

Water is used on the basis of water delivery contracts signed between water user associations, industrial enterprises or municipal bodies and water suppliers.

According to established order in Kyrgyzstan (like in many countries of the world), irrigation water delivery services are not free, and fees collected are used for maintenance of irrigation and drainage systems under public ownership.

The right to use in general, and, in this case, resources of ground or surface, river or lake, fresh or saline water, with or without their diversion is permitted (licensed) only by the Government, based on the established law order, and given for 15 years. Special permission for water use is given up to 50 years if claimant makes substantial investments in construction, modernization or rehabilitation.

State and its subsidies for water supply services

The state compensates fully or partially water use costs in form of budget allocations, loans, grants, as well as by attracting foreign investments, according to national laws.

Every year, the Government of Kyrgyz Republic sets subsidies for irrigation and drainage from the state budget.

In 1999, a law was adopted on tariffs for irrigation water delivery services, where 1 m3 of water costs 3 tiyin, and the total cost coverage is about 30% of operational costs.

Besides, the Government of Kyrgyz Republic rehabilitates the public irrigation and drainage systems at expense of investments of international financial organizations (World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc.).

Shift to public participation

Regulations of the Water Code make provision for consequent enlargement of access of water users, the community and other stakeholders to planning, making and controlling of management decisions.

Involvement of water users in water resources management is a fist stage of institutional reformation of water sector.

Efficient water use is a basis of national agricultural development.

Now we are at transition stage of water sector reformation. The objective is to improve efficiency of water use and create strong basis for irrigated agriculture development in our republic. Adoption of the Water Code was a result of long accumulation of problems and experience in water use.

Hydrographic participatory water management was successfully implemented in Aravan-Akbura Canal Management Organization, which was established according to the Water Resources Department’s (Kyrgyz Republic) order No. 140 of 24.03.2003, irrespective of territorial dependence of land in Kara-Suv, Aravan districts and Osh. The Canal Water Users’ Union (CWUU) integrating 6 WUAs of the above-mentioned two districts was established at the pilot canal.

The Board of Aravan-Akbura canal’s Water Committee was organized on the basis of trilateral Agreement about joint governance of Aravan-Akbura canal (AAC), which was under responsibility of Osh Basin Water Authority, between the Water Resources Department, the Osh Basin Water Authority, and the CWUU.

For the purposes of joint governance, the parties agreed to create a joint management body - Canal Water Committee (CWC) - consisting of 7 people, based on financing shares (55% state budget, 45% water users), i.e. 4 representatives of Basin Water Authority and 3 representatives of AAC water users. Work plan was drawn up and approved for joint governance (hereinafter CWC) and all activities followed this plan.

Since 2004, the management information system “MIS IWRM-Fergana” has been operating in Aravan-Akbura Canal Management Organization. All the data on water allocation (withdrawals, delivery, efficiency) for each outlet and water user are inputted into the database. Water availability, equitability, stability and efficiency of water supply in balancing sites are analyzed using this system.

Transparency and awareness

Access of all stakeholders to official information on the state and use of water resources, hydrostructures and water-protection infrastructure is a prerequisite of efficient management of the national water fund.

Transparency of management by state agencies should be ensured, first, through the involvement of water users and local communities in activities of community-based organizations, such as basin water councils, water user associations, etc.

Wider involvement in activities of those organizations of NGOs, local government bodies, and environmental movements is to be secured. I

Results of gender analysis in national water sector

Below we will try to analyze actual state-of-affairs in status of women and men generally in the republic and particularly in water sector.

By present, the republic has ratified more than 40 different international documents that set a common idea of protecting rights and liquidating all forms of discrimination against women. In 2001, by the President’s Decree, a National Council for Women’s Affairs was established to deal with women, family and gender equality issues. Mandate of the Council includes coordination of actions on implementation of gender equality policy and strategy and monitoring of meeting republic’s international commitments in area of gender development, including UN Convention on Liquidation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. By the President’s Decree of March 2002, the first National plan of actions aimed at achieving gender equality in the Kyrgyz Republic was approved for 2002-2006, and in August the second National plan of actions was approved for 2007-2010. There exists gender statistics, and for already nine years a statistical collection dedicated to status of women and men in our republic has been published.

Level of extreme poverty or percentage of population consuming below food poverty line lowered by 2.3% in 2005 as compared to previous year and reached 11.1%, while the share of extremely poor was 6.5% in urban area and 13.8% in rural area.

Let consider the state-of-affairs regarding gender equality in the water sector. According to the data of 2006, only 18% of employees are women out of 4175 people working in the sector. In 436 water user associations women occupy the following posts: director - 6 women; accountant - 160; Chairman of WUA Council - 2; and, Deputy Chairman of WUA - 9.

Measures to enhance international cooperation

Since independence in 1991-1992, the Central Asian countries have been collaborating in area of water resources management for already 17 years within the framework of ICWC. The accumulated experience made it possible to formulate certain methods, style and order of cooperation in water management and use in the two major river basins of the Aral Sea - Amudarya and Syrdarya.

The political platform and whole system of interstate cooperation were established: within the framework of the Interstate Fund for Aral Sea Saving (IFAS) and its commissions - ICWC and ICSD. Recently, some efforts are made under EurAsEC and SCO, where establishment of certain institutions is envisaged as well.

Joint actions were and are undertaken to implement regional, bi- and multilateral projects. For example, GEF project, SPECA, IWRM-Fergana, Bilateral Commissions for rivers Chu and Talas.

Implementation of regional projects demonstrated a need for joint activities and their important role in enhancing cooperation. However, the pledge of successful cooperation and positive results of joint projects is a willingness of the states to reach the shared vision and consider interests of each other. The above mentioned regional projects indicated to such willingness and degree of readiness of the states to a reasonable compromise.

Over the last period, a certain framework of regional water management organizations was formed. Some of them were newly created (such as ICWC, IFAS), while others were reorganized (BWO).

Recent period showed that without certain reformation such institutions turned to be rather old-style and their work was conservative and low efficient, as well as involvement of the states in their work. This is visually demonstrated by IFAS operation:

ICWC carried out some work on the development of legal framework. Several Agreements were signed, part of draft agreements were approved by ICWC members and submitted to EC IFAS for further submission to the countries for consideration, while another part of drafts is in stagnation. A lot of draft Agreement development within the framework of ADB project is also uncertain. All this indicate to some difficulties in work process and that a possibility to reach reasonable compromise between all the countries was not explored to the end. However, this does not mean that work on the draft agreements should be stopped. It is necessary to continue working within thematic work groups of ICWC. Government of Turkmenistan Shared financing of hydrotechnical and hydro-environmental measures is, in our opinion, a goal of one thematic work group of ICWC. Activity of this group should help to determine frames, work scope and legal basis for those measures. It seems necessary to plan such thematic work group. Government of Turkmenistan However, work of this group will be effective only if financial matters are settled. Due to irregular financing, attempts to establish and organize work of such group usually fail. Government of Turkmenistan There is some experience in shared financing of hydrotechnical measures by Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on the rivers Chu and Talas. As activities of the Commission strengthen, it will take the leading role in implementation of hydro-environmental measures as well. Moreover, this work will be carried out by sub-contractors of the both countries under shared financing. Government of Turkmenistan The European Parliament supported an initiative of the President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev on the establishment of an International Water-Energy Academy in the Republic. This is stated in a resolution to the EU Strategy for Central Asia as adopted on February 20, 2008: “The European Parliament supports the proposal on the establishment in Bishkek of the so-called water-energy academy for all the countries in Central Asia in order to achieve adequate water use and hydropower generation, enhance technology transfer, protect biodiversity and improve agricultural and irrigation technologies”. Government of Turkmenistan The European Parliament “calls for active energy cooperation between EU and the region, especially Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and, as far as possible, Uzbekistan in order to tackle energy problems”.