Building a water user partnership for better water management
A three-day training on “Partnership of water users at the local level” was conducted in three pilot regions within the framework of the project on “Addressing climate change risks to farming system in Turkmenistan, at the national and local levels”, implemented by the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Adaptation Fund. The trainings attracted the heads and officials from the local self-government bodies, local land and water users, the employees of the local water resources management bodies and members from the Council of Elders and youth organizations.
Due to the climate change processes the scarcity of water resources became more evident and it requires adopting new legislative and regulatory frameworks to improve the water management, practices of irrigation and water use, and increase the efficiency of the irrigation systems through their modernization.
The National Strategy on Climate Change of Turkmenistan and the Concept of Development of Water Economy in Turkmenistan until 2030 call for strengthening capacity of the water sector for implementing of a number of adaptation measures. Priority tasks for adaptation of the water economy to the impacts of climate change are the following: improvement of the overall water management, introduction of advanced irrigation methods, desalination, construction and restoration of water reservoirs, setting up new incentive methods for rational water use, continuing construction of the Turkmen Lake, and strengthening international cooperation in the field of protection and rational use of transboundary water bodies.
For an effective assistance in the implementation of the above-mentioned tasks the participants of the training have discussed examples of the international water management best-practices in establishing local groups of water user and water user associations (WUAs) to manage water resources.
In the course of the trainings participants have discussed important issues related to the new draft of the ‘Water Code of Turkmenistan’ (2004) that will address the effects of the climate change. In this context, several ideas for setting up local groups of water users and WUAs have been discussed. Participants have also discussed main concepts of water management as far as participation of water users is concerned including their involvement in water management processes to achieve better performance in delivery and distribution of irrigation water and technical upgrade of irrigation and drainage networks which will lead to the improvement of irrigation practices. As anticipated outcome, this will increase the productivity and cost-effectiveness of agricultural production. In group sessions the local participants talked in more detail about the structure, rights and responsibilities of local groups of water users and principles for selection of local community leaders.
The results of the training demonstrate that making joint decisions by the land and water users regarding water management greatly empower the water economy sector to face challenges presented by climate change and water scarcity.
Mr. Ahmet Shadurdiev