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Cycle 6 (2017 Deadline)

Reducing water pollution and carbon emissions from irrigated areas by improving irrigation management and rural livelihoods: case studies from energy intensive pump irrigated areas of Sogd Province, Tajikistan, and Kashkadarya Province, Uzbekistan 

PI: Oyture Anarbekov,, International Water Management Institute - Central Asia Office
U.S. Partner: James Ayars, United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service

Project Overview:

This research is the first major attempt to analyze relationships between the pump irrigation practices, rural livelihoods, and health in Central Asia through transboundary partnerships. It builds on IWMI’s extensive background on irrigation and health issues and applies remote sensing (RS) and geographic information systems (GIS) methodologies developed by IWMI to evaluate irrigation schemes and estimate relevant water indicators. The overall project objective is to assess whether improved irrigation management can make rural livelihoods more sustainable and reduce health issues by decreasing water pollution and carbon emissions, using the examples of two intensive energy-use pump irrigated areas of Sogd Province, Tajikistan, and Kashkadarya Province, Uzbekistan. The overall objective will be achieved through five specific activities:

1. Identifying the extent of water pollution attributed to the lift-irrigated agricultural zones by conducting a comprehensive analysis of contaminant fluxes and exposure routes
2. Determining the potential impacts of improving water use efficiency on energy savings, reducing CO2 emissions, and runoff from lift-irrigated areas by building and simulating impacts with computer models
3. Improving water use efficiency by utilizing data generated from a previously initiated PEER project (i.e., a geodatabase prepared for lift-irrigated areas) to identify current water use efficiencies in selected sites according to a set of indicators and subsequently to develop and recommend potential improvements
4. Assessing the current environmental and socioeconomic impact of irrigation and identifying possible interventions to improve rural livelihoods (e.g., restoring ecosystems and their services)
5. Preparing policy documents evaluating different methods based on a set of criteria for improving water use efficiency and reducing energy use, CO2 emissions, and return flow in lift-irrigated areas

The partnerships and collaboration envisioned within the scope of this project are carefully selected to be appropriate for the complexity of the activities and enhance transboundary institutional collaboration. In essence, the project can be viewed as two projects under a shared goal, as the two case studies are (1) located in different countries and in different river basins, (2) influenced by different sociopolitical circumstances, and (3) affected by different legal and administrative structures. The three regional partners involved under the auspices of the lead institution, IWMI, (1) the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan; (2) the Sogd Water Authority in Tajikistan; and (3) the Institute of Sanitary, Hygiene, and Professional Disease, Department of the Hygiene of Water and Soil, under the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan. These transboundary partnerships build on and strengthen existing coordination established under two previous projects in PEER Cycles 4 and 5 between the transboundary government agencies. The project’s US partners are Dr. James Ayars from the US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Services and Dr. Catherine A. Berry from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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