Uzbekistan: Water Resources Management

Sovereign Project | 45437-002

Summary

The impact of the proposed project will be improved rural incomes and welfare of rural communities in Surkhandarya Province and Fergana Valley. The outcome will be improved land and water productivities in selected irrigation system command areas. The key outputs will be the following: (i) reliable irrigation water supply by the rehabilitation and modernization (R&M) of prioritized pump stations; (ii) efficient irrigation water supply and use by R&M of prioritized irrigation structures, application of more efficient irrigation system management, application of water-saving irrigation and agriculture practices by farmers, and operationalization of WCAs; (iii) more financially sustainable water supply and use by increasing collection of water delivery service fee and as a result of the replacements of pumps with more energy-efficient ones; and (iv) decreasing water logging and land salinization by rehabilitation of prioritized drainage structures.

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Project Name Water Resources Management
Project Number 45437-002
Country Uzbekistan
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan: Water Resources Management
Asian Development Fund US$ 100.00 million
Ordinary capital resources US$ 50.00 million
Strategic Agendas
Drivers of Change
Sector / Subsector Agriculture and Natural Resources - Irrigation
Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Description

The impact of the proposed project will be improved rural incomes and welfare of rural communities in Surkhandarya Province and Fergana Valley. The outcome will be improved land and water productivities in selected irrigation system command areas. The key outputs will be the following: (i) reliable irrigation water supply by the rehabilitation and modernization (R&M) of prioritized pump stations; (ii) efficient irrigation water supply and use by R&M of prioritized irrigation structures, application of more efficient irrigation system management, application of water-saving irrigation and agriculture practices by farmers, and operationalization of WCAs; (iii) more financially sustainable water supply and use by increasing collection of water delivery service fee and as a result of the replacements of pumps with more energy-efficient ones; and (iv) decreasing water logging and land salinization by rehabilitation of prioritized drainage structures.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR) is the proposed executing agency. The deputy minister in charge of water resources at MAWR will serve as the project director and provide overall guidance to project implementation. Staff members from Amu-Surkhan BISA in Surkhandarya Province and three BISAs (i.e. Naryn-Karadarya, Naryn-Syrdarya, and Syrdarya-Sokh) in Fergana Valley will provide support in the field. The National Steering Committee chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister will review progress and render key decisions.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

1. Irrigated agriculture, which covers 4.3 million hectares (ha) accounts for 90% of agricultural production and over 40% of employment in Uzbekistan, remains a key economic sector, and is the main source of livelihood for rural communities. To further improve rural living standards, the government has developed the Welfare Improvement Strategy (WIS) for 2008-2010. Considering that over 60% of the population live in rural areas and depend on irrigated agriculture for their livelihood, the strategy recognizes inefficient water resources management and land degradation as the strategic challenges.

2. Most of Uzbekistan's irrigation and drainage (I&D) infrastructure has been in operation far beyond its economic life and it is rapidly deteriorating. Since the majority of country irrigation systems are lift irrigations due to its nature, water supplies are getting not only inefficient due to deteriorated irrigation structures but also unreliable due to increased accidents in pump stations and unsustainable due to consequent increase in operation and maintenance (O&M) cost. High seepage water losses throughout systems and in irrigated farmlands due to uncontrollable structures and insufficient and inefficient drainage systems are causing land salinization and degradation problems. Modernizing the deteriorating I&D infrastructure is therefore of paramount importance to ensure sustained agricultural production and economic growth.

3. The current major challenges for the sector include (i) limited investment; (ii) reduced agricultural productivity caused by low water-use efficiency (about 40% on average); (iii) deteriorating I&D infrastructure; (iv) reliance on pump irrigation that covers 65% of the irrigated area, absorbs 70% of the annual O&M budget, and consumes 20% of country's electricity; (v) low pump station energy efficiency caused by the system's poor state of repair and old designs; (vi) poor water management practices; and (vii) high climate sensitivity as 500% water deficit is projected by 2050, resulting in droughts and further desertification. Such a drier environment is expected to be more reliant on already scarce water resources. Thus, substantial investments in I&D and water management will be required to maintain food security.

4. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR) is responsible for water resources. Although the responsible organization for the development, O&M, and management of I&D, infrastructure within MAWR was reorganized in 2003 from a provincial and district administrative basis to a water basin set-up in which I&D is managed by basin irrigation system administrations (BISAs), they need improved irrigation and water management procedures and practices to manage water more effectively. Improved coordination among BISAs, other administrations in each I&D system level within BISA, and Water Consumers' Associations (WCAs) responsible for water management at the on-farm level, and their improved technical skills would also improve water management efficiency.

5. Surkhandarya is the most southern province of Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Its population is around 1.9 million with over 1.5 million rural inhabitants. The poverty incidence in Surkhandarya is 35%, which is the third highest in the country. Amu-Surkhan BISA covers over 325,000 ha, which is most of the irrigated lands in the province. The main crops are cotton and grains occupying more than 70% of irrigated land being mainly served by pump irrigation systems. The deteriorated I&D network is causing low irrigation efficiency and consequent water logging and land salinization. As a result, the saline lands increased up to 114,000 ha, which make up 35% of the whole irrigation area.

6. Fergana Valley consists of Andijan, Fergana, and Namangan Provinces, and is situated in the easternmost part of the country, which borders the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. Its population is around 7.8 million with around 5.0 million rural inhabitants. The poverty incidence in the valley ranges between 15.8% and 33.4% depending on province. The valley is subdivided into three large sub-basin units with the total irrigated land of 650,000 ha. In the valley many large and small gravity and lift irrigation systems are connected among each other by canals. The majority of I&D systems including pump stations are not fully operational due to their deteriorated conditions. Most parts of the irrigated area are subjected to salinization, of which 9% is categorized as having an average or high degree of salinization, 15% as being waterlogged, and some 80% suffer from high groundwater levels.

7. Since 2004, ADB has been supporting the government to improve irrigated agriculture and water resources management by implementing three projects, including two in the proposed project locations. The rehabilitation of Amu Zang Irrigation System one of the largest pump irrigation systems in the country aimed to increase the reliability, efficiency, and sustainability of irrigation water supply in Surkhandarya Province. The Water Resources Management Sector Project is sustaining and increasing agriculture productivity in the Zarafshan River Basin and Fergana Valley by upgrading pump irrigation systems, and improving water management, and a plan and capacity development program to improve efficient water supply and productive water use in Fergana Valley. ADB also helps develop water resources sector assessment and strategy through the ongoing regional technical assistance. Lessons learned from these projects will be incorporated in the design of the proposed project.

8. A proposed project is in line with the Country Partnership Strategy 2012-2016, which includes the water resource management and irrigation as one of the core sectors, and focuses on the rehabilitation of a major irrigation system to make the system more energy-efficient and reduce the cost of its operation, and is included in the draft Country Operations Business Plan 2012-2014.

Impact Improved welfare of rural communities dependant upon water supplies from selected irrigation systems in Surkhandarya Province and Fergana Valley
Outcome Land and water productivities in selected irrigation system command areas increased
Outputs

Water supply in selected irrigation systems made more reliable

Water supply and use in selected irrigation systems made more financially sustainable

Irrigation water supply and use in selected irrigation systems made more efficient

Water logging area in selected irrigation systems decreased

Project managed effectively

Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation Except for the advertisement of the expression of interest for the services of a consulting firm (31 July 2013) to design the proposed Project with changes in the target provinces, no other activities were carried out since effectiveness of the TA. The proposed Project was initially targeted for approval in 2014. In July 2013 the TA completion date was extended to 31 May 2015 due to a shift in the target project approval year to 2015. During discussions to update the draft Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) 2014-2016, in March 2014, the proposed Project lost priority over the another project proposal to support agriculture mechanization and crop diversification which are also prioritized in the Government strategy and the draft updated COBP dropped the proposed Project that rendered the TA no longer relevant.
Responsible ADB Officer Ryutaro Takaku
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, CWRD
Timetable
Concept Clearance 27 Nov 2012
Fact Finding 16 Sep 2013 to 30 Sep 2013
MRM 20 Jan 2015
Approval 28 Mar 2016
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 31 Mar 2015

Safeguard Documents

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