President Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on September 19 to discuss the further reform of the water resources management system and widespread introduction of water-saving technologies.
Today, water shortage is one of the most pressing issues in the world. Special attention is paid to this problem in our country, measures are taken for the rational use of water.
First of all, in order to improve the management system of the sphere in Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Water Resources was set up.
Practical measures to use water and save the water resources are envisaged in the Agriculture Development Strategy toward 2030, currently being devised under the instruction of the head of state.
The meeting participants deliberated on the reduction of losses during irrigation and on the efficient use of budget funds allocated for these purposes.
Today, 46 billion cubic meters of water are spent for the irrigation of 3.2 million hectares of land, whereas only 60 percent reach the fields. One reason is that only 23 percent of irrigation networks, totaling 180 thousand kilometers, have a concrete coating, and even these have not been updated for 30-35 years.
Another reason is that 98 percent of the sown area is irrigated in the old fashioned way, the crops themselves are not optimally placed. No agency puts forward strict requirements for the efficient use of water, its accounting, the use of water-saving technologies in irrigation networks.
To this end, the President pointed to the need for developing an improved crop placement system based on the availability of water in the regions and the applicability of conservation technologies.
The Ministry of Water Resources has been instructed to implement the Smart Water system at the 61 water facilities for a South Korean grant of 7 million US dollars, which allows for real-time monitoring of water consumption. Next year, the system is to be implemented at least at 120 sites, and at 300 – until the year 2023.
The Ministry of Energy was instructed to ensure, by the end of 2020, the connection of 1.7 thousand pumping stations to the automated control system for electricity consumption, as well as the widespread use of modern information technologies in general.
Time requires the introduction of market mechanisms in the field. Today sown areas, orchards and vineyards, even those that bring high profits, receive water at the expense of the state.
In this regard, the need was noted for transferring 50 water facilities in 22 districts to the private sector in 2020.
Special attention was paid at the meeting to the development of water management science and innovation, ensuring their integration with production.
The head of our state instructed to set up a design group at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers in order to introduce young scientists into scientific practice, develop students’ design skills, and stimulate innovation in the field with the engagement of foreign experience and specialists.
It was noted that in the realization of large projects, it is necessary to attach research workers and talented students to facilities, so that they could put scientific and innovative developments into practice and improve their skills abroad.
Widespread adoption of water-saving technologies is one of the key tasks in the field.
An analysis of the effectiveness of such technologies on the example of the Ferghana region showed that farmers’ expenses for water supply decreased by 50 percent, for fertilizers – by 37 percent, for fuel – by 35 percent.
With this in mind, it was instructed to introduce water-saving technologies on 200 thousand hectares next year and on 1 million hectares of sown area through to the year 2025.
Currently, water management organizations have 4 thousand irrigation wells at their disposal, each of which serves 30 hectares of area, up to 40-50 million soums are spent on their activities a year. Irrational use of well waters during irrigation leads to a decline in the reserves of underground sources.
In this respect, responsible officials were urged to transfer well water consumers in 2020 to the use of water-saving technologies and the use of solar panels.
Currently, the functions of the customer and contractor for the construction, reconstruction and operation of water facilities are carried out by one agency – the Ministry of Water Resources. This can adversely affect healthy competition.
For this reason, the President stated that 57 contracting enterprises should be withdrawn from the ministry system and merged into a separate joint-stock company.
The activities of water consumer associations, as it was noted at the deliberations, should also be reviewed, turned into a professional structure capable of attracting investments, grants and other means, have a fleet of special equipment and provide quality services to farmers.
Responsible officials reported on issues discussed at the meeting.