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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER)
Cycle 4 (2015 Deadline)

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

PI: Viktor Dukhovniy (, Scientific-Information Center of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) of Central Asia; with co-PIs Guljamal Nurmuhammedova, Ynanch-Vepa Analytical Agency; and Alisher Nazariy, Amudarya Basin Water Organization
U.S. Partner: Benjamin F. Zaitchik, The Johns Hopkins University
Project Dates: November 2015 - April 2018

Project Overview

The goal of this project is to build adaptive capacity of the countries sharing the Amudarya basin to manage effectively their transboundary waters under climate change and other uncertainties. The Uzbekistan- and Turkmenistan-based members of this collaborative group will study transboundary water management issues in the Amudarya basin over the long term under conditions of climatic and other changes, along with national plans regarding irrigated agriculture and hydropower development. Some specific areas to be addressed include the following:

  • Assess possible changes in the hydrologic regime and future crop water requirements due to climate change;
  • Study scenarios for long-term flow regulation by a system of large reservoirs on the hydrology of rivers, as well as on available water supply for irrigated lands and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems in the basin;
  • Evaluate the potential impact of national plans for irrigated agriculture and hydropower development on future crop water requirements in the basin’s countries;
  • Elaborate possible tradeoffs between national priorities and requirements at the basin level on the basis of legal analysis, with the focus on global water conventions.

The main outcomes of the project should include scientifically grounded recommendations for various stakeholders (policy makers, macroeconomists, environmentalists, hydropower managers, and agriculture specialists) on a number of relevant topics. These would include trade offs in water management in the basin, economically sound development options, regionally sound cropping patterns based on national food and energy security strategies and water conservation needs, environmental management in deltas, and alternative options for multiyear river flow regulation. The U.S. Government-supported partner will play an advisory role and support the research team by hosting exchanges, offering advice on models and data, and participating in workshops.

Summary of Recent Activities

Over the second quarter reporting period, the team continued its project stage three progress which focuses on numerical experimentation and analysis. The team completed its calculations of water balances and the productivity of planning zones for 2017-2055 and its assessment of climate impact and HPP operation and water withdrawal by Afghanistan on water resources and river channel balance for 2017-2055. A number of scenarios were built based on the operation of Nurek HPP until 2055 and the data was processed for the river channel balance for 2017-2055. Furthermore, the team collected data to account for the positive effects of climate change in the basin including agrometeorological conditions suitable for growing winter wheat, as well as climate and temperature data for the year. Lastly, a draft agreement on water sharing in the Amudarya River Basin is in the process of development, and mapping of key organizations involved in water management in the basin is underway.

Progress was also made on disseminating the team’s research and progress. A training workshop on approaches to efficient water resource management by BWO Amudarya and its territorial branches in the context of climate change” was held May 4-5, 2017, in Urgench. The team also participated in multiple international conferences, both regionally and globally, focusing on water management and climate change. Both papers and posters of their work was shared. The team also published its collection of selected agreements dealing with water management in the Amudarya River Basin. This collection is unique as it puts together full texts of agreements related to the Amudarya Basin.

By October, the team hopes to have its numerical experiments completed and a package of preliminary proposals on water management in the context of climate change and preliminary recommendations on adaptation will be prepared which will take account both negative and positive climate impacts on water resources and their use. The final seminar will be organized in November 2017 to discuss the main project results as a comprehensive, scenario-based assessment of water balance and the prospective development of irrigated agriculture in the basin in the context of climate change, HPP operation, and demands by Afghanistan and Prearalie. Major results of the numerical experiments will be input into the database, while a package of proposals and seminar reports will be uploaded on the project web-site. Policy briefs and articles will be prepared and shared with key stakeholders and at relevant conferences.

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