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Water User Association and Governance: The Example of Tajikistan


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“Water User Association and Governance: The Example of Tajikistan” Fakhriddin Kuziboev, Development Alternative International

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Water User Association and Governance: The Example of Tajikistan

  2. 2. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Introduction • Tajikistan population is about 7,600,000. • Total area about 14.3 million ha. • Arable land 4.1 million ha (26%). Irrigated 720,000 ha (18%). • 2/3 of the workforce in agriculture. • Agriculture accounts for 23% of GDP. • Irrigation is necessary, particularly for Cotton & for ‘kitchen gardens”—which are essential for rural areas. • Irrigation systems are in a great state of disrepair.
  3. 3. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Need for Organizations • Poorest of the ex-Soviet Union states. • Shortage of funds for infrastructure resulted in 1,000,000. citizens working outside of the country. • A severe lack of skilled labor particular in the water management area. • Irrigation/drainage systems continue to deteriorate and production decrease. • Tajikistan not the first country to be in such a situation. • Problem solved by devolving system O&M to end users.
  4. 4. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Need for Organizations – cont. • Tajikistan followed this approach to establish WUAs. • Tajikistan began to establish WUAs in 1990s. • To date, around 200 WUAs have been established. • But many do not function or function ineffectively. • This paper is about WUAs organized through the “Water User Association Program; 2004-2011” funded by USAID and implemented by Winrock International.
  5. 5. Water User Associations in Tajikistan
  6. 6. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Legal Basis • Firm legal foundation necessary for WUAs: • Government Regulation #281 – 1996; re fee collection for water delivery service, • Water Code of Tajikistan – 2000; expanded the legal basis for creation of WUAs, • The “Water Users Association” Law – 2006; provides a legal basis for creation, activity and management of WUAs as non-commercial organizations (WUAs participated in a Parliamentary Hearing); • Thus, there is a strong legal basis for WUAs, though there are problems with actual implementation.
  7. 7. Water User Associations in Tajikistan •Goal was to develop an organizing model for Tajik socio- cultural conditions based on basic principles •Used an intensive approach to organize WUAs to promote sustainability •A challenge given the lack of Tajik experience with civil societies •The following are some basic principles: Organization Process
  8. 8. Water User Associations in Tajikistan BASIC PRINCIPLES • membership includes all farmers in the WUA area; • WUAs based on clearly defined hydrologic boundaries; • organized through a ‘bottom-up’, ‘community concept approach’; • organized in an open, transparent, fair, honest, democratic processes; • election of officers through secret ballot; • intense community integration to ensure awareness of benefits and responsibilities; • all concerned have a voice in decisions; • charter developed by members themselves; • organizational structure promotes transparence clear checks/balances; • standing committees of Audit and Conflict resolution; • members participate in all steps of rehabilitation/construction of works; • intensive training in organizational development, management, finances, technical, etc.
  9. 9. Water User Associations in Tajikistan WUAAchievements •Dedicated WUA staff with defined duties, responsibilities and activities •Hold regular meetings; •Conduct business in a transparent manner, especially finances; •Engage and replace staff as required with no outside interference; •Resolution of conflicts; •Collect required fees; •In good standing with government authorities and Ministry of Irrigation; •Now can engage directly with local authorities and the Ministry; •Carried out system rehabilitation by themselves; •Perform system maintenance •Develop water delivery schedules and operate system distribution; •Improved knowledge of legal, administrative, management, agricultural and technical issues; •Involvement of women in WUA affairs greatly enhanced;
  10. 10. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Overall Results: •A sustainable WUA model was developed; •Foundation established to achieve sustainable and self- governing organizations in Tajikistan; •‘Mind Change’ in attitudes and self-confidence; •WUAs are now daily practicing ‘Civil Societies; •‘Anarchy’ replaced with Cooperation; •Significantly improved reliable water delivery.
  11. 11. Water User Associations in Tajikistan •Less interference from local authorities; •Increase technical skills in planning, scheduling, water measurement •Improve capacity in internal management; •Tajik government to turnover of systems to the WUAs/Federations •Government assistance during a transition period as WUAs gain experience; •Improve system infrastructure; •Improve access to quality affordable agro-inputs; markets; and technologies. •Increase production and market development leading to more income. Challenges Major Challenges to be overcome before WUAs are able to take over all responsibilities for system O&M & achieve sustainability.
  12. 12. Water User Associations in Tajikistan •The Tajik Government has initiated actions to reform the irrigation sector; •A reform principle being that WUAs are basic building blocks necessary for effective change; •Sincere implementation of reforms will move toward resolving challenges; •The Tajik Government, must be fully committed to, and support WUAs; •Guidance, advice and assistance to WUAs/Federations are needed to promote their roles and responsibilities. Steps toward Resolution of Challenges
  13. 13. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Future Vision • WUAs will be sustainable, self-governing and effective water managers – they will be the ‘heart’ of the irrigation sector; • Tajik-wide apex organization to influence water policy; • More effective water management to increase prosperity; • Prosperity increases for all Tajik citizens, particularly those in rural areas.
  14. 14. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Photos Secret Balloting Elected WUA Board of Directors USAID Director at Official Opening of WUA Office American Ambassador Planting wheat in Women’s Kitchen Garden
  15. 15. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Photos WUA Members Participated at Law Parliamentary Hearing Kyrgyzstan WUA Cross-Visit to Tajikistan
  16. 16. Water User Associations in Tajikistan PhotosBefore After Canal Distribution Gates Drainage Channel
  17. 17. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Photos Excavator to Federation Sarob Three Tractor Backhoes to WUAs Small measuring devices to WUAs
  18. 18. Water User Associations in Tajikistan Thank you for your attention. Any Questions?