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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 Dates: December 2017 - November 2020

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.

Summary of Recent Activities:

During the reporting period, project team undertook activities according to the work plan. Input data collected to calculate water balance for Zafarabad and selected districts of Karshi steppe. Moreover, Project team widely disseminated on-going PEER project results in national and regional events during the reporting period.Following activities carried out:
  • Collected data regarding the current state and variability of resources: water, soil and agricultural crops, weather data, water use from different sources (vertical wells, horizontal drainage system, open canals etc), crop type, soil salinity, groundwater tables, surface water runoff volumes, vertical drainage regime (water discharges, volume of pumped water), irrigation water, drainage water, groundwater salinity, irrigated areas for major crops, long-term meteorological parameters (wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity, sunshine) to calculate water balance elements in order to determine the potential effect of improved irrigation methods on water, energy saving, reduction of runoff from lift irrigated areas in the Kasbi and Nishon districts in Kashkadarya and Zafarabad district in Tajikistan. Data collected for 2008 (dry year), 2010 (water abundant year) and 2013 (normal year).
  • The FAO CropWat model was used to determine irrigation requirements of the cotton and wheat at project sites.Some graphs of optimum irrigation rates calculated for the Kasbi and Nishon districts of the Kashkadarya region of the Republic of Uzbekistan during the normal, dry and wet years during the vegetation and non-vegetation periods for 2008 (dry year), 2010 (water abundant year) and 2013 (normal year).
  • IWMI organized a roundtable meeting on “Implications of climate change, land use and adaptation interventions on water resources and agricultural production in Transboundary Amu Darya river basin” at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineering, on February 26-27, 2020. The purpose of the event was to share and discuss the results of this project with relevant stakeholders, including donors, researchers, and students, as well as to exchange experiences with international experts. During the roundtable meeting, research plans were scrutinized and possible improvements were explored. In addition, participants shared the best regional experiences / practices in the field of agriculture, water management, hydrological modeling, and the use of GIS / RS technologies in the context of climate change and other pressing issues. IWMI senior researchers Dr. Herath Manthrithilake and Dr. Lal Mutthuwatta, along with the project team from IWMI Central Asia Office, presented on various topics and contributed to engaging discussions about current water management challenges in the region. The event brought together more than 50 participants from governmental and international organizations, as well as research and academic institutions.
  • IWMI’s Kakhramon Djumaboev was invited by the President of the Westminster International University, in Tashkent to be a resource person for a session on Water Management and UN SDG6 Clean Water and Sanitation, on February 19, 2020. The Westminster University in Tashkent has been running a weekly one-hour Public Lecture throughout 2019 - 2020 entitled Sustainable Development and Globalization. The course engages agency heads, researchers, senior government leaders, UN representatives, ambassadors, and CEOs to share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives on Uzbekistan’s future. Kakhramon gave a lecture on "Sustainable Development Goals and Water Resources Management in Uzbekistan". More than 20 people participated, including University staff and students.

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