Tajikistan

Tajikistan: World Bank supports managing Ferghana Valley water resources

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Washington, July 26, 2005 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$13 million IDA grant for the Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project for the Republic of Tajikistan. Focused on the Soghd Oblast, in the northern region of Tajikistan, and the easternmost part of the multi-national Ferghana Valley, the project will improve irrigation and drainage systems locally in Tajikistan, which will improve the capacity of irrigated agriculture and help to increase the income of the rural population. At the same time, it will reestablish the safety and improve the operations of the Kayrakkum dam and reservoir, thereby benefiting not only Tajikistan, but also neighboring countries.

The Ferghana valley is an important region for Central Asia. With a total population of 11 million, 70 % of whom live in rural areas, the valley spreads among Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. The valley contains the Syr Darya river, which is the main source of water supply in the area. The valley's principal water control feature is the Kayrakkum dam and reservoir located upstream from the Syr Darya. The collapse of the former Soviet Union led to degradation of the irrigation and drainage systems, resulting in an unreliable supply of irrigation water, drainage and water-logging problems, reduced soil fertility and crop yields and a reduction in irrigated land.

"This project will help to improve agricultural practices in the Soghd region of Tajikistan, as well as the operation of the Kayrakkum reservoir, one of the main water control facilities in the area. It is expected to benefit the local population through strengthening dykes and improving dam and reservoir safety, as well as enhancing the efficiency and reliability of irrigation, which will result in increased agricultural production",said Usaid El-Hanbali, the Project Task Manager. He added, "This project is doubly important, as it is one of the projects to be funded by the International Development Association fully in grant form as the government is unable to allocate sufficient resources for such large scale rehabilitation works."

The project consists of four components. The first component will finance the design of, and work on, the rehabilitation of pumped and gravity irrigation and drainage systems serving some 30,000 ha of farm land in the Kanibodom and Bobojon Gufarov raions. Under the second component,the design and works related to the rehabilitation of the Kayrakum Reservoir dykes in Kanibodom and Bobojon Gufarov raions, and technical studies, dredging and other equipment and instrumentations, and minor works will be funded to increase operational performance and improve management of the Kayrakum Dam and Reservoir. Within the third component,institutional capacity building for establishment of Water Users Associations (WUAs) will be funded to improve agricultural productivity and achieve more efficient water use patterns, and ensure proper environmental impact mitigating measures. The l fourth componentwill fund assistance to the central Project Management Unit and to the regional Project Implementation Unit.

The project implementation will be overseen by a Central Project Steering Committee chaired by the Prime-Minister and composed of the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, and staff of the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, Energy, Health and other related Government agencies. The Central Project Management Unit established within the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources will be responsible for the overall project implementation. The project is expected to become effective on December 1, 2005 and will operate until November 30, 2010.

The Republic of Tajikistan joined the World Bank in 1993. Since that time, commitments to the country total approximately US$345 million for projects approved on both a lending and grant basis. At the moment, the active portfolio of Bank-supported projects consists of 9 investment operations for a total commitment of US$130 million, of which about 50% has been disbursed. Funding for new projects approved in fiscal year 2006 will be allocated on a 100% grant basis.

For more information about this project, please visit: www.worldbank.org/projects

Contacts:

In Washington: Miriam Van Dyck (202) 458-2931, mvandyck@worldbank.org

In Dushanbe: Dilya Zoirova 21 07 56, 21 67 43, dzoirova@worldbank.org