Hydro-geographical organization

IWRM is based on the key principles that define its practical backbone. One of the principles is as follows: water resources management is implemented within the hydrological units in concordance with geomorphology of the drainage basin under consideration .

Within the river basin, water is in permanent motion and naturally crosses the administrative boundaries delineated by human beings on the basis of geopolitical considerations. Thus, it is understandable that to manage all factors affecting the hydrological cycle, it is necessary to keep control over the entire river basin by a single body (V.A.Dukhovniy).

An organizational set-up within the administrative boundaries, which does not usually coincide with hydrographic boundaries, results in weakening of control of some components of the hydrologic cycle, affecting the sustainability and equality of water supply i.e. the key tasks of water management. The above mentioned is true for both the river basin as a whole and the individual irrigation systems.

The administrative and territorial approach results in ôadministrative hydroegoismö and the well-known head-tail problem, where under conditions of water shortage (and sometimes in absence of shortage) downstream users (republic, province, district, WUA, farm) are disadvantaged as compared to upstream users. This leads to conflicts and disputes at the border of administrative divisions and, finally, to crop failure.

One of main directions for institutional improvement of water resources management in CAR is the implementation of the hydro-geographical principle or, more correctly, return to this principle since earlier (before the 60-s in XX century) water management in the region was formed on the basis of hydrological boundaries. After, under dictation of local authorities (district and provincial Communist party committees) water management was re-organized and instead of irrigation system authorities (ISA) the district water-management organizations were formed and divided canals (systems) (the exception was the Inter-district canal authority, the Amudarya irrigation canal authority (UPRADIK) and other similar organizations).

Such re-organization has complicated the process of water distribution management and allowed local authorities to intervene actively in water distribution, which often did not meet the principles of equitability, stability, equality and effectiveness.

An illustrative example of the hydro-geographical principle can be a leaf of a tree on which the configuration of arteries is visible (Figure 1). Any water management system where the whole area of water use is linked to the hydrography of a major watercourse ľ a river or main canal with many off-takes into its laterals, through which water is delivered to the end user, is arranged in the same manner. (V.A.Dukhovniy).


A Leaf of Tree as a Single Organism

All mentioned above about the importance of hydro-geographical organization of water management refers to both water distribution at WUA level and water distribution at upper (main canal, sub-basin, basin) and lower levels (farm).

Author: Mirzaev N.N., SIC ICWC