On July 25, within the framework of the CAREC-USAID Smart Waters project, a Small Basin Council was established on the Tajik side of the Isfana River sub-basin. The main task of this SBC is the management of the water resources of the Isfana sub-basin, which includes the Jabbar-Rasulov and Spitamen districts of Tajikistan. The Isfana River is transboundary, it flows from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan. In the spring of 2018 SBC was also established in the Kyrgyz part of the river.
The SBC includes representatives of the administration, specialized agencies and civil society. Namely: deputy chairmen of the local executive authority, chiefs and specialists of the regional departments of land improvement and irrigation, chairmen of the Committee for Environmental Protection, Committee for Emergency Situations, the Water User Associations, media, Sanitary and Epidemiological Institutions and local authorities (makhalla committees).
The SBC creation ceremony was held during the introductory seminar of the CAREC-USAID Smart Waters project on basin planning for integrated water resources management. During the seminar, parties have approved the rules of the SBC and elected the chairman and two secretaries (Jabbar-Rasulov district and Spitamen district).
The event was supported by the local executive bodies of Jabbar-Rasulov and Spitamen districts of Sughd region of Tajikistan and the regional Department of Amelioration and Irrigation of Sughd region.
During the seminar, CAREC experts and the Smart Waters project team presented on the following topics:
- Principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM);
- World practice of IWRM: introduction and the legislative basis for basin planning;
- Basin councils are an important element of IWRM, basin planning and a small basin council;
- Benefits of implementing an integrated management and basin planning system.
Also, within the framework of the seminar, Isfara's SBC secretary Abdulahat Rakhmatov presented the experience of the Small Basin Council. In addition, Smart Waters project experts presented the results of a comprehensive analysis of the Isfana River sub-basin, which includes a socio-economic, hydrological and hydro-technical assessment.
An important element in the introduction of basin management principles into the existing water management practice in Central Asia is systematic capacity building. In connection with this, with the support of the Smart Waters project, four more seminars will be organized. The main result of the training will be the development of a basin plan for the Isfana River sub-basin. In the course of the following workshops, the priority problems of the basin and possible actions for their solution will be jointly identified and agreed upon.
Smart Waters project is implemented by CAREC with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development USAID during the period 2015-2020. The overall objective of the project is to enhance regional cooperation on shared water resources. Specifically, Smart Waters addresses the knowledge dis-lock in the region in water sector, builds working relations among water managers and specialists, and demonstrates the potential of the basin management approach and cooperation with the academia.