Transboundary water management adaptation in the Amudarya basin to climate change uncertainties

Goal: to build adaptive capacity of the countries sharing the Amudarya basin to manage effectively their transboundary waters under climate change and other uncertainties.

Objective: to study in a holistic manner transboundary water management issues in the Amudarya basin for the long run under conditions of climatic and other changes along with national plans on irrigated agriculture and hydropower development.

Specific objectives:

  • Assess possible changes in the hydrologic regime & future crop water requirements due to climate change;
  • Study scenarios of long-term flow regulation by a system of large reservoirs on hydrology of rivers, available water supply for irrigated lands and for sustaining aquatic ecosystems in the basin;
  • Evaluate future crop water requirements for irrigated lands of the basinís countries under an array of future climate change and river flow regulation based on national plans for irrigated agriculture & hydropower development with account of technological innovations and water conservation technologies;
  • Elaborate possible tradeoff between national priorities and requirements at the basin level inter alia on the basis of legal and institutional analysis of transboundary water management in the Amudarya basin, with the focus on two Global Conventions - 1997 UN Convention, 1992 UNECE Convention.

Scientific merit:

  • the modeling tool that allows for assessment of climate change impacts in combination with various scenarios of water, socio-economic, agricultural, environmental, & energy development in the basin countries;
  • approaches which aim at reducing water inputs in irrigated agriculture; to be enriched by the relevant US experience (WaterSmart software, etc);
  • harvesting positive impacts of climate change in the basin by making use of shorter crop growing period, modeling of which will give lower figures of water requirements;

Main outcomes: Scientifically grounded recommendations for various stakeholders: policy makers - on trade offs in basinís water management; macroeconomists - on economically sound development options; agrarians - on regionally sound cropping patterns, based on national food and energy security strategies & water conservation; environmentalists - on environmental situation in deltas; hydropower managers - on alternative options of multiyear river flow regulation.

Implementation period: 1 November 2015 Ė 31 October 2017

The project duration is 24 months. The project will be implemented in four stages:

  1. Preparatory stage (3 months)
  2. Research (9 months)
  3. Numerical experiment (7 months)
  4. Dissemination (5 months)

Stage 1. Preparation and planning

Main activities:

  • Study of water management issues in the Amudarya basin and development of logical model for water management in the basin,
  • Development of research methodology and scenario evaluation method; development of computational scheme for possible scenario combinations,
  • Collection and analysis of input information, including data on land and water resources, HEPS operation regimes, etc.; evaluation of existing climatic scenarios and preparation of climatic data in tabular and GIS formats.

The results of the preparation and planning activities as well as possible challenges in the project implementation will be discussed during a working meeting in Tashkent (SIC ICWC office). Communication with partners from the U.S. and Turkmenistan will be organised via the Internet. Results of the stage will be summarized in information report.

Stage 2. Research

Main activities:

  • Adaptation of models (ASBmm and others) to specific characteristics of the Amudarya basin, mainly, adjustment of the components of water balance, including return flow and water losses,
  • Analysis of country socio-economic development programs (particularly, in agricultural and energy areas) and identification of achievements towards sustainable development, i.e. improving food and energy security, accelerating economic growth and preserving ecosystems,
  • Study of crop water requirements on irrigated land of upstream, middle and downstream reaches of the Amudarya River under conditions of climate change, according to scenarios of agricultural development and crop distribution,
  • Modeling runoff series in the basin in light of climate change impact,
  • Studying alternative scenarios of flow regulation by HEPS cascades,
  • Estimation of required water supply to Afghanistan from the Amudarya basin,
  • Estimation of required water supply to the lake system of the Amudarya delta and the Aral Sea,
  • Legal and institutional analysis of TWM in the Amudarya basin (runoff regulation by large reservoirs with hydropower and allocation of water between the countries to the benefit of upstream, midstream and downstream users), with the focus on possible value-added from two global conventions - 1997 UN Watercourses Convention, 1992 UNECE Water Convention.

The research period will be completed with the analysis of executed work and results attained from the beginning of the project (year). The results will be presented in form of a report and discussed during a seminar in Tashkent (SIC ICWC office). The dialogue with the U.S. partner can be organized via the Internet.

Stage 3. The numerical experiment

Main activities:

  • Series of model calculations for various combinations of scenarios and boundary conditions in the Amudarya basin (climate, water, flow regulation by hydropower, crop water requirements, Afghanistanís water demand, nature demands) for 2020-2050; the calculations will be made for assessment of the integral impact of climate change and hydropower station operations on basinís water, evaluation of their variability, distribution of water deficit in space and time, and assessment of the possibilities of deficit compensation through multiyear flow regulation and water demand management (lowering of unproductive losses in irrigation infrastructure, reduction of crop water requirements by applying water conservation innovations and changing crops),
  • Development of proposals on the principles of TWM and directions of sustainable development in the Amudarya basin, including hydropower, irrigated agriculture, and environment under conditions of growing water scarcity. These proposals will include legal aspects as well.

By the end of this stage, the outputs of numerical experiment will be analyzed, processed, aggregated into a database and summarized in information report.

Stage 4. Dissemination

Main activities:

  • Maintain the projectís page on the PIís website & update existing databases on the Amudarya with new knowledge and data.
  • Organize a workshop to bring together the key stakeholders and all executors,
  • Prepare conference presentations, scientific journal articles and other publications to share the project approaches & findings,
  • Prepare projectís follow-up dissemination plan to maintain a dialogue on TWM & sustainable development in the Amudarya basin

The outcomes of the Project will be presented as a final report, with description of all work stages.