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Worldwide, water policy and management are beginning to reflect the fundamentally interconnected nature of hydrological resources, and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is emerging as an accepted alternative to the sector-by-sector, top-down management style that has dominated in the past.

Kirov Dam, Kyrgyzstan

The Central Asian states have recently declared a commitment to the strategic water planning using integrated water resources management (IWRM) principles. These principles are based on integrating the interests of various sectors within hydrographic boundaries and involving the general public and stakeholders in the planning, development, funding and decision-making process. This is to ensure it meets the needs of society and the environment in a sustainable manner.


The lack of consistency in the use of water resources is a serious obstacle to sustainable development and is the cause of regional, domestic and local conflicts. It is crucial that transboundary water resources in the Aral Sea basin are used efficiently and in a rationalized manner.

The development of proposals to improve the management and use of water resources in Central Asia, taking into account environmental factors, and the effects of climate change and meeting the national interests of the countries of the Aral Sea basin would contribute to a safer and more cooperative use of these transboundary resources.


Under Direction 1 of the Third Aral Sea Basin Program - Integrated Water Resources Management – priority areas were defined for the coming years:

1.Information system improvement, including hydromet modernization, database development, development of united methodology for water demand forecast.

2.Application of IWRM principles, including development of national and regional visions of water use, basin plans, water quality conservation and protection, manuals and strategies for efficient  water use.

3.Dam (water works) safety.

4.Natural disaster risk management.

Integrated Management of Surface and Ground Water Resources

The quantity and quality of surface and underground water in Central Asia is closely connected. The unrestrained use of surface water sources, as well as an excessive use of disposable water resources is leading to depletion and deterioration of underground water (a major source of drinking water in the area).

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