Integrated Water Resources Management in the Ferghana Valley


(since 2001)


The Integrated Water Resources Management in Ferghana Valley (IWRM – Ferghana) is an action research project aimed at improving the effectiveness of water resources management through the introduction of integrated water resources management (IWRM) principles in the Ferghana Valley shared Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by IWMI in partnership with the Scientific Information Centre of the ICWC (SIC ICWC), a major inter-governmental organization on water allocations and cooperation in the region.

The project addresses possibilities for transparent, fair and efficient water allocation mechanisms among water users and between the project countries with due regard to the local needs for water saving, improvement of soil fertility and pertinent environmental issues through the reorganisation of water admi-nistration and the promotion and institutional build-up of water users’associations and unified governance and management structures for three pilot main canals – one per each project country.

The key concepts, processes and institutional arrangements operationalized through the project’s innovative IWRM model are as follows:

[fancy-ol style=”decimal” variation=”blue”]
  1. Demand-side hydrographization – rearranging water management units and borders among water users at basic levels through establishment or re-establishment of hydrographic water user groups (WUGs) and water user associations (WUAs)
  2. Supply-side hidrographization – rearranging existing operational water management units and borders at a scheme level by setting up the System-wide management organization (SMO).
  3. Facilitating all WUAs as well as other water uses and non-governmental interest groups at an entire scheme level to join forces for stronger voice and representation when dealing with the state through the Union of System-wide water users (UWU).
  4. Negotiating and reaching joint governance arrangements with the state through establishment of the System-wide Water committee (SWC) – a joint user-and-state body to oversee water management at shee level.
[hr top=”no”/] iwrm


After successful operationalizaton of the above concepts, approaches and user organizations at pilot canals level the IWRM-Ferghana project in 2007 expanded its reach and scope by reforming the institutional setup of water management within the transboundary context.

Because of the boundary setting within the Ferghana Valley, with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan mainly on the mountain slopes and Uzbekistan mainly within the valley, there is a large concentration of Small Transboundary Tributaries (STTs) to the main stem of the Amu Darya. Several factors – e.g., plans for irrigation expansion, a local-level institutional vacuum, population growth – are working to heighten the potential for conflict in these STTs.

In the face of this high conflict potential the IWRM Ferghana Valley project has established transboundary institutions on two small STTs in the Ferghana Valley: on Shahimardansai (shared by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) and Khojabakirgansai (shared by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Importantly, the project results described below not only reduce the potential for conflict between countries, but lay the basis for more productive and sustainable water management.


The results of the ongoing transboundary process and dialogue to date have been as follows:

[fancy-ul style=”arrow-type5-list” variation=”blue”]
  • Consensus is reached between locally elected Governing bodies on the riparian sides through informal dialogue and information exchange
  • Trust and confidence in governing bodies of co-riparians is improved
  • Joint understanding and management of the water resources during the water scarce period (April-May)
  • Emergency calls during mudflows and floods are made.
  • Transboundary canals when border is closed are jointly maintained and cleaned (sharing of labor force and machinery).
  • Water management shifted from administrative to hydrologic boundaries
  • Joint discussion of water demands, water use plans and other key activities of joint interest are regular.
[hr top=”no”/] logo-solutions-for-water

Full details on this institutional solution for transboundary water governance titled ‘Operationalizing Cross-border Cooperation along Small Transboundary Tributaries of the Syr Darya River, Central Asia’ are available at the Solutions for Water – a web-based project of the 6th World Water Forum.


Based on the successful experiences of the previous full four phases of the project since 2001 it is now going through its strategic stop-over and positioning phase Phase 5 and 6 until 31 December, 2012 with the primary focus on the following:

[fancy-ul style=”arrow-type5-list” variation=”blue”]
  • Sustain created during 2001-2011 the IWRM capacities and achievements, preserve basic local human potential for future wider IWRM dissemination, and prepare the ground for SDC’s next major roll-out phase;
  • Preserve acquired technical and operational competencies, including its documentation at a level of an editorially agreed standard;
  • Enhance the average capacity of WUAs in the project areas with focus on their financial viability and efficient provision of water services;
  • Continue the ongoing transboundary consultations process for the two pilot STTs aimed at imporving cross-border water cooperation through joint river-wide governance arrangements.
[hr top=”no”/] For queries or more details, please, email to our project team:

Dr. Kai Wegerich – Project Leader

Dr. Jusipbek Kazbekov, STT Consultation Process

Murat Yakubov, STT Backstopping, Uptake and M&E