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Introduction of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles on the Aspara small transboundary river


Title Introduction of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles on the Aspara small transboundary river
Category of tools Public participation principle
Field of application

Use of water resources

Usability of practice for adaptation to climate change High
Implemented by USAID/CAREC
Used by

Country: Kyrgyzstan

Practice also applied in the following localities


Aspara River Basin

Local specifics

Transboundary river

Practice usage period

Start date: 01.04.2012

End date: 31.10.2016

Problem solved through this practice

Imperfections of the water management mechanism in the Isfara small transboundary river basin

Tools used in the practice

The principle of stakeholder engagement in decision-making associated with water management of small transboundary river; IWRM planning technique

Description of the practice and its results

The Aspara River originates in the Western Tien Shan on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and flows northwards crossing the border with Kazakhstan.  The river’s total length exceeds 44 km, and its catchment area amounts to approximately 66 km2.  The Aspara River Basin is located in Chu Region in Kyrgyzstan’s northwest and Jambyl Region in Southern Kazakhstan.  The basin is shared by several different ethnicities where they live and work.  The basin’s population is rapidly growing, and the agriculture is developing.  In many places along the course of the river, especially in its lower streams, the water doesn't meet quality and sanitary standards.  Liquid waste produced by the population, industry and livestock production as well as solid waste constitute major sources of environmental pollution.

Project efforts were carried out in Jambyl Region of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Chu Region of the Kyrgyz Republic.


Establishment of 2 stakeholder groups, i.e. Small Basin Councils (SBC) – on both Kazakhstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s sides of the river – representing local authorities, NGOs, water users and local communities.  The SBCs already held 6 joint meetings proving the value of SBCs as platforms to exchange opinions and information as well as take joint decisions on enhancing the overall situation in the basin.

In addition, hydrometric posts were reconstructed and underwent certification, and the automated water distribution and accounting system was installed on the Mailybai Canal. The water supply system in the village of Cholok-Aryk also underwent reconstructed.  A demo-site to demonstrate drip irrigation equipment and technology was established on the premises of Ravshan Farm receiving its irrigation water via the Mailybai Canal.


Thus, the creation of national Small Basin Councils (SBC) on the Aspara River ensured a platform for exchanging opinions and information as well as joint decision-making to improve the overall situation in the Aspara River Basin, including the development of the IWRM basin-specific plan.

Lessons learnt and recommendations made

Lessons learnt:

Introduction of IWRM principles is the pre-requisite of stable and fair water supply irrespective of a given water user’s location.


Currently, when local stakeholders are represented in SBCs and are engaged in joint water management, it is necessary to continue the capacity-building efforts to build-up SBCs’ efficiency.  In the long term, it might be necessary and possible to establish a joint body to manage the whole Aspara River Basin shared by Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Source of practice

Foreign tools (transfer of foreign experience)

Brief information on the project

Development and implementation of basin plans constitute principal elements of integrated water resources management.  Multi-agency coordination mechanism via basin councils or coordination groups is an important advantage of IWRM.  This approach allows streamlined coordination and synergy of actions on all levels of management hierarchy.

Project title: Stakeholder partnership in joint policy-making: assistance to transboundary cooperation in small watersheds of Central Asia.

Project duration: Apr 2012-Oct 2016

Project goal and objectives: introduction of the integrated water resources management (IWRM) practice in three transboundary watersheds and its scaling-up in Central Asia.

Project beneficiaries: communities of the Aspara small transboundary river basin, specialists of water and environmental agencies, farmers.

Project implementer: USAID/CAREC.

Funding source USAID
Information sources

Form submission date 02.04.2018
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