The irrigation and drainage infrastructures of the Central Asian countries, inherited from the former Soviet Union, are one of the most sophisticated in the world. though the efficiency is very low. According to the ENVSEC (2005) Assessment for Central Asia water use is as high 12,9 m3 per hectare and only 21% of this is effectively used, the remaining 79% is lost, mostly from unlined canals on and between farms. Managing these infrastructures requires substantial funds which the countries are not always able to allocate.
In the last 10 - 20 years, because of this lack of funds, maintenance and repair works have been done irregularly and work tends to be in response to rather than in order to prevent emergency. As a consequence, structures, including canals and drains, have ceased to work in design mode, and irrigated lands have started to lose productivity and/or have been abandoned.
Currently, any sound strategies for reconstruction and repair of facilities do not exist. The works are not systematic, and mostly are of the emergency response. This does not improve the situation, and often leads to deterioration of operational capacity of facilities, canals and drainage systems.
|Degraded canals within the agricultural areas of Central Asia
Irrigation Infrastructure Monitoring System
Increasing the efficiency of the use of water resources and reducing the cost of public expenditure for operating irrigation infrastructures are the priority tasks in the irrigation sector.
Since the early 1980’s, Irrigation Service Fees have been charged for the use of irrigation water in the Central Asia states. This volumetric method was, and is, mainly used for establishing the costs for the water supply services provided, i.e. water users pay for the volume of water delivered.
Originally, the Gauging Station Registers the water facilities were established according to administrative borders. The Registers reflected availability and conditions of the measuring devices, accessory tools, level of automation of water allocation processes, and the needs for maintenance. In addition, there was a system operational for the certification and verification of equipment.
However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this work has gradually declined due to the lack of funds required to keep the system operational. This has resulted in an inadequate provision of water to water users and the inability to monitor the flow and distribution of water.
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