Project on Capacity Development and Awareness Raising in the Irrigation Water Supply Sector in Kazakhstan

In 2017, a joint project of UNDP and RGP Kazvodkhoz of the Committee for Water Resources of the RoK Ministry of Agriculture was launched in Kazakhstan: 'Capacity development and awareness raising in irrigation water supply and drainage networks in Almaty and Turkestan regions' which is implemented under component D of the project 'Restoration of irrigation and drainage' between the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Through international cooperation, the Project will enhance the institutional and human capacity of RGP Kazvodkhoz on irrigation water supply methods and improved land use practices and farmers awareness raising on sustainable land and water management methods, and also will develop the economic and financial instruments to improve the sustainability of the irrigation water supply industry and introduce an electronic billing and automation system for irrigation water management processes.

These activities will be aimed at improving the well-being of the population by providing a centralized, reliable irrigation system, improving farmers' access to sufficient irrigation water and using economic tools to improve the efficiency of irrigation water supply and raise awareness of the local population.

These initiatives will be achieved through changes to functions and practice of water management in Almaty and Turkestan regions.

The Project to improve the access to irrigation water for the existing local population will cover about 420,000 people. In addition, through to proposed rehabilitation of vertical drainage boreholes to regulate the level of groundwater, it is planned to use at least 210,000 hectares of waste land.

The Project also provides for the institutional development of structural subdivisions of RGP Kazvodkhoz (finances, operation and maintenance and supervision, mechanization, technical design and planning, water use and delivery), on-the-job trainings for technical personnel, development of a new tariffing / electronic billing for irrigation water, as well as raising awareness for farmers and existing water user associations in relation to effective water management.

To achieve the goals and objectives of the Project, the following implementation mechanisms have been identified. Implementation Agency: The Committee for Water Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan will serve as the Implementation Agency for the Project. The operating division of the Committee for Water Resources is the state-owned enterprise GRP Kazvodhoz which would act as the executive agency of the Project.

The Project implementation covers the period from December 2017 to December 2021.

Since the start of the Project, the following results have been achieved:

The Kazakhstan experts and the Islamic Bank's specialists have jointly conducted a baseline study to analyze the current conditions and situation in irrigation water supply in agriculture. Based on the study, they have developed and agreed long-term work plans to introduce new technologies for automating the irrigation water supply and groundwater and saline soils monitoring and managing.

In addition, the Project also plans to introduce the best international practices and economic mechanisms for managing the irrigation water supply industry and introducing an electronic billing system.

Efforts on enhancing professional knowledge on 'Use of geo-spatial technologies in sustainable water management' in collaboration with the UNDP IRH and the Central European University, began in 2018. 16 regional mission-oriented experts from RGP Kazvodhoz have expanded their professional knowledge, experience and skills thanks to an international study tour to Spain on the 'Electronic billing and automation of water supply systems' and to Germany to study the experience with respect to creating and managing an electronic billing system and automating the irrigation water supply. As a result of these trips, RGP Kazvodkhoz's specialists studied the experience with respect to automating the irrigation water supply and electronic billing systems in the southern regions of Spain, studied the institutional infrastructure of the water sector, the tariffing system for irrigation water in the country and the processes for establishing water user associations.

A methodological basis and a new formula for calculating the irrigation water tariff have been developed.

In 2019, they have started to directly implemented the pilot projects: automation of irrigation water measurement and supply and an electronic billing system in four districts of Almaty region (Aksu, Koksu, Yeskeldi and Alakol), as well as restoration of vertical drainage  boreholes and monitoring of saline and groundwater management in the Turkestan region.

This year, an institutional assessment will be completed and recommendations will be prepared for the long-term development strategy of RGP Kazvodkhoz and its branches.

Works are in progress on improving the tariff policy in irrigation water supply, which is an important tool for ensuring the economic and financial sustainability of the RGP Kazvodkhoz.

They will continue the efforts on the developing guidelines and arranging the trainings in various formats (study tours, seminars, etc.) that would provide advanced training not only for technical staff of RGP Kazvodkhoz, but also for other participants in the process: Local Executive Authorities,water users and farmers, the public.

In 2019, work is in progress on an awareness campaign aimed at promoting the rational use of water resources through the introduction of 'green' technologies and automation of irrigation water supply.

For reference only: Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral bank of development implementing projects in the field of social and economic development in 57 countries, including Kazakhstan.