Experience exchange: a workshop on integrated water resources management conducted in Ashgabat
On November 3-4, a joint workshop of CAREC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Resources of Turkmenistan with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was conducted in Ashgabat under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). The workshop was entitled “The basics and principles of the integrated water resources management: International practice and regional experience”.
This event gathered more than 30 participants, including representatives of the Ministry of the Agriculture and Water Resources of Turkmenistan and it’s departments, Deputy of the Medjlis, heads and scientists of the institute “Turkmensuvulymtaslama”, National Hydrometeorological Service under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Land Resources, Turkmen Agricultural University named after Niyazov S. A., the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan, representatives of international and civil organizations, operating in the country.
Water resources and their rational use have always been the focus of attention of the President of Turkmenistan, and these issues became more relevant with transition of chairmanship to Turkmenistan in the IFAS, which gives a possibility to consider interests of all water users in a context of scarce water resources.
There is an experience based on integrated water resources management in the world practice. The basis is formed on basin plans and basin management. Turkmenistan has already taken a direction towards the basin management with the adoption of the new Water Code.
In order to facilitate successful implementation of the planned transition, the workshop was aimed at enhancing the experience of managers working in the water management sector with knowledge of international practices in implementation of IWRM principles, as well as familiarization with advantages and disadvantages of the basin water management and planning.
Participants were greeted by Mr. Pashiev, Head of the Department of the Ministry of the Agriculture and Water Resources of Turkmenistan, Mr. Dzhumakuliev, Coordinator of CAREC in Turkmenistan and Mr. Chris Miller, USAID Representative in Turkmenistan.
During two days of the workshop regional expert, Mr. Petrakov and acting manager of the CAREC water initiatives program, Mr. Rustam Issakhojayev, conducted the workshop and familiarized participants with the international experience in introduction of the principles of integrated water resources management.
As Mr. Rustam Issakhojayev, noted in his presentation, creation of each model of basin council is unique and each country considers it taking into account conditions of river flows and landscape, but principles of integrated water resources management remain unchanged. During the workshop an example of establishment of basin commissions in Germany, basin councils on the Colorado River, which is cross-border river between Mexico and the USA was discussed.
Moreover, participants were informed about implementation of the Smart Water Project in the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan and discussed achieved results. Documentaries about activities of small basin councils of Aspara (between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and Isfara (between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) rivers were demonstrated to the participants.
In his presentations, Mr. Petrakov, Regional Expert introduced Kazakhstan experience in creation of small basin councils and transition to the principles of integrated water resources management and discussed in details the process of creation and improvement of the legal framework for integrated water resources management which took more than 15 years and continues to this day.
It was underlined during the discussions and exchange of experience that Small Basin Councils can include all interested water users and their representatives, which are located along the riverbed. Functions of the Basin Council are of consultative and recommendative nature, but they allow all interested users to submit their suggestions and proposals.