Kazakhstan to fully ensure its water security: new measures approved by Government

The draft Concept of Water Resources Management System Development for 2024-2030 was adopted at the Government session of Kazakhstan.

As noted by the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, the document was developed taking into account the analysis of the current situation in the industry and the best international experience. Thus, to ensure water security of the country provides for the construction of 20 new and reconstruction of 15 existing reservoirs, as well as modernization of more than 14 thousand km of irrigation canals and hydraulic structures.

It is planned to reduce unproductive water losses during transportation from 50 to 25%, and to increase available water resources by 2.4 cubic kilometers. In general, the implementation of the planned approaches will make it possible to increase the area of irrigated land to 2.5 million hectares by 2030.

To stimulate farmers to apply water-saving technologies, the share of subsidies for irrigation systems, as well as for the purchase of drip and sprinkler irrigation equipment will be increased from 50% to 80%. It is expected that due to this, the area of irrigated land with water-saving technologies will increase to 1.3 million hectares, about 2.1 cubic kilometers of water will be saved, and the yield of agricultural products will increase significantly.

At present, work is being finalized to create a digital platform hydro.gov.kz, where a unified water cadastre will be formed to display water bodies, hydraulic structures, water management basins and sites, gauging stations, etc. It is planned to be put into commercial operation in the 3rd quarter of this year.

The Minister added that the Concept also provides for digitalization of more than 3.5 thousand km of water canals and automation of water accounting of irrigation systems.

Akims of Zhambyl region Yerbol Karashukeyev, Turkestan region Darhan Satybaldy and Kyzylorda region Nurlybek Nalibayev told about preparation for construction of new reservoirs and introduction of water-saving technologies in the regions. 

Prime Minister stressed that rational use of water is one of the most important tasks, so the presented Concept will be the main program document in this direction.

"Its implementation will allow to establish a clear system of monitoring and forecasting of water resources, which is necessary within the framework of water security. An important direction of the Concept is construction and reconstruction of water infrastructure. For many years, its maintenance has not been given due attention," Alikhan Smailov said.

As an example, he said that the main water artery of central Kazakhstan and the capital, the Satpayev Canal, has only 30% efficiency of pumping stations. The Big Almaty Canal has not been repaired for 40 years since its commissioning.

In addition, in Turkestan, Kyzylorda and Zhambyl provinces, most of the main and inter-farm canals are in a worn-out state resulting in water losses of 40%.

According to the head of the Government, another important direction of the Concept is to stimulate water saving. 

"With the shortage of water and growth of its consumption, it is first of all important to reduce losses and ensure careful use. Now we subsidize the cost of water supply to farmers. We also reimburse 50% of the cost of purchasing water-saving technologies. This year we plan to raise this bar to 80%," Alikhan Smailov emphasized.

At the same time, he pointed out that the rate of implementation of water-saving systems in the country remains low. Thus, drip irrigation is used only on 84 thousand hectares out of the planned 312 thousand hectares. 

"Taking into account the high cost of technologies for the majority of agrarians, it is necessary to organize their own production. Such projects are already being discussed. It is important to implement them," Prime Minister said.

In general, Head of the Government outlined the need to establish a system of scientific research in the field of water resources use. In particular, to consider options for territorial redistribution of resources of the Irtysh River.

Another block is to address issues of transboundary water use. Alikhan Smailov stressed that within the framework of development of such agreements with neighboring states it is necessary to pay special attention to the formation of a package of weighty arguments to strengthen the negotiation processes.

"In general, responsible and qualitative realization of all activities planned by the Concept will allow increasing the efficiency of water resources management in the country. Therefore, the Ministry of Water Resources together with interested state agencies and regional akimats need to ensure its effective implementation," Prime Minister pointed out.

Alikhan Smailov instructed regional akimats to adopt road maps for the restoration and digitization of municipal and private irrigation systems within a month, as well as to conduct a multi-factor survey of municipal hydraulic structures.

Head of the Government also noted that for effective implementation of the Concept it is envisaged to adopt a Comprehensive Water Sector Development Plan.

"It will supplement the Concept with a clear list of water infrastructure facilities planned for modernization and construction. The Ministry of Water Resources should ensure submission of the draft Comprehensive Plan to the Government Office within two weeks," Alikhan Smailov emphasized. 

In conclusion, Prime Minister instructed to make specific proposals for the organization of domestic production of water-saving equipment within a month.

#Alikhan Smailov #The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan #Government session #water resources

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