Rational water use is a priority of the state policy of Turkmenistan
Rational water use is a priority of the state policy of Turkmenistan
Published 19.10.2022

Special importance in the socio-economic strategy of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov is attached to the rational use of water resources as an important factor in dynamic development of the agro-industrial complex, environment preservation, and improving the social and living standards of the people of Turkmenistan.

Emphasizing the importance of introducing water-saving technologies in order to improve the quality of agricultural irrigation, the head of state outlined the cleaning of canals, proper leveling of lands and prevention of their salinization among the key objectives.

At a working meeting held on July 18, where priority issues of further development of the agro-industrial complex were discussed, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov also pointed out the need to maintain the water management facilities in the velayat in proper operational condition and instructed to conduct their appropriate monitoring.

It should be noted that Turkmenistan has accumulated vast experience in applying modern rational water management methods in irrigated agriculture, construction and operation of hydraulic facilities of grandiose power and efficiency. After all, it is thanks to the success in the implementation of water management projects that our Homeland, in the conditions of an arid zone, demonstrates the effectiveness of its agricultural production, ensuring food abundance in the country and exporting surplus agricultural products.

The scale of the transformations ongoing in the water management complex is a vivid example of the successful introduction of scientific developments and innovative technologies, as well as and the special attention paid to the development of the industry in the era of the Revival of the New Epoch of the Powerful State.

A large contribution to solving the problem of drainage water utilization, the task of further improving the agricultural technology of surface irrigation, the introduction of modern irrigation methods is made by domestic specific science.

This is quite obvious from the Decree signed by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov on July 29 at an expanded meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the approval of the Work Plan of the Government Commission on Water Supply.

Based on the latest technologies and original engineering solutions, Turkmenistan has embarked in the agro-industrial complex on the course of increasing the efficiency of water use in order to carefully spend every drop of precious moisture.

Systematic, purposeful activities are carried out to increase the capacity of reservoirs, which makes it possible to create water resources. This work is constantly carried out with a view to meet the future needs, and especially in the winter-spring period, it allows laying a reliable foundation for the country’s water supply, leveling the possible negative effects of global climate change and drought.

In the context of the policy of rational water use ongoing in Turkmenistan, the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Concept for the “Altyn Asyr” Turkmen Lake Region Development for 2019-2025 is consistently implemented.

Thanks to the construction of this grandiose hydraulic facility, the main trunk collector of our country and the Dashoguz branch were connected to a single system for collecting and diverting drainage water into the giant “Garaşor” depression located in the north of the Karakum Desert. Due to thus, the ameliorative condition of irrigated lands improves, and the discharge of drainage water into the Amudarya River and the flooding of pastures are prevented.

Along with this, an insurance reserve of water has been created, which through natural filtration and modern technologies, can be used for the needs of the agricultural complex, including the development of new lands, expanding pastures, as well as irrigating green spaces and technical needs.

Speaking in favor of the rationality of water use, the development of constructive cooperation on the use of transboundary waters, Turkmenistan puts forward relevant initiatives in this area, where the main emphasis is on international legal instruments and the maximum consideration of the interests of all states of the region. A significant step in this area was the accession of our country in 2012 to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

In this regard, it is appropriate to note that the Joint Statement of the President of Turkmenistan and the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the results of the state visit of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov to Kazakhstan on October 15 specifically states that “the heads of state declare that the water resources of the transboundary rivers of Central Asia are the common good of the peoples of the region and that the fate of tens of millions of people living today and future generations, the stability and well-being of the entire region depend on the fair and reasonable use of these resources. In this regard, we are in favor of strengthening mutual understanding and developing constructive cooperation, as well as the search for mutually acceptable and fair solutions”.

In this regard, the Turkmen Lake is a truly innovative project, proving that our Homeland makes a significant contribution to solving global problems related to the conservation of the planet’s water resources and the environment. It clearly shows the strict compliance with Turkmenistan to the provisions of the Helsinki Convention of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and other international agreements in this area.

As part of the large-scale transformations ongoing in the country, the material and technical resources of the water industry is systematically strengthened, and new hydraulic facilities are put into operation in all regions. Successful implementation of projects in this important area contributes to effective development of the agricultural sector, increasing the production of grain, cotton and other agricultural crops.

A clear example in this regard is the “Yylgynagyz” water lifting complex, which significantly improved the water supply to the agricultural fields of the Lebap Velayat in the upper reaches of the Amudarya River. In turn, the overhaul of the facilities of the Zähmet-Türkmengala» machine canal made it possible to provide the sown areas of the etraps located in the basin of the Murgab River in the Mary Velayat with sufficient life-giving moisture. Another water management facility provides irrigation water to about 25 thousand hectares of land put into agricultural use in the Kaahka etrap of the Akhal Velayat.

A significant role is attached to small reservoirs designed to collect mudflows in the foothill regions of the country. This makes it possible to avoid the harm caused by mudflows, prevent their occurrence, and use the collected water for household needs of the population, irrigation of cropped areas, vineyards and orchards. In particular, such artificial reservoirs were built near the village of Bagir near Ashgabat, as well as at the Gozganchay River in the Kaahka etrap of the Akhal Velayat.

Reservoirs are also built in other velayats of the country, including moisture accumulators, which will ensure the uninterrupted passage of water within the planned parameters.

In accordance with the “Program of the President of Turkmenistan for socio-economic development of the country for 2019-2025”, design work was carried out on the construction in the eastern region, on the site of the main watershed of the Karakum River, of a new reservoir with a capacity of 4 billion cubic meters, and an underwater channel of this facility is under construction.

In addition, the expansion of the bowl of the reservoirs “Hanhowuz” on the Karakum River and “Saryýazy” on the banks of the Murgab River, in general, allows creating water resources for effectively redistributing them over the seasons, saving them until they are most in demand on agricultural land.

In Bereket etrap of the Balkan Velayat, a reservoir with a capacity of 18 million cubic meters was put into operation, designed to regulate the water supply of the Karakum River and improve the water supply to the agricultural areas of this area.

President Serdar Berdimuhamedov clearly identified water diplomacy and ecology as one of the priority areas of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy, based on the principles of peace, positive neutrality and constructive international cooperation. The priority of the water strategy of the head of state is the solution to water management issues on a comprehensive basis and with consideration of the interests of all countries in Central Asia.

It should be noted that an important mechanism for the implementation of international plans in the water sector for Central Asia is the Resolution of the UN General Assembly “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea”, developed by Turkmenistan and adopted in co-authorship with 19 countries.

Speaking at major forums, including the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, the Summits of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, and the Heads of Caspian State and CIS, Turkmenistan put forward a number of relevant initiatives aimed at uniting international efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all UN member states.

These include proposals to open a Regional Center for Climate Change Technologies in Central Asia in Ashgabat, for which the Turkmen party is ready to provide the necessary infrastructure, as well as to develop a UN Special Programme to Save the Aral Sea and a UN Water Strategy.

Putting forward these initiatives, our Homeland is guided by the fact that the transboundary water resources in Central Asia should be used on the basis of universally recognized rules of international law, mutual respect and consideration of the interests of all countries in the region.

Water diplomacy, outlined today as a priority in the foreign policy of many states, including Turkmenistan, and considered as a political and diplomatic form of multilateral cooperation, opens up opportunities for a systemic dialogue on issues related to the formation and restoration of water resources, their reasonable and rational consumption. 

In this context, the positive experience of cooperation between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the water management area should be highlighted. Evidence in this respect is the state visit of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov to the Republic of Uzbekistan on July 14-15, during which a bilateral agreement was signed between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the management, protection and rational use of water resources of the Amudarya River.

It should be noted that one of the priority vectors of the foreign policy of our Homeland is the development of international relations in the strategic aspects on the global agenda. At the same time, the issues of climate change, environment preservation, rational use of natural resources, and the solution to problems related to the Aral Sea and the ecological situation in this zone are of particular importance.

Among the constructive initiatives of our country in the above areas was the signing by the head of state of the Decree, in accordance with which the Concept of the National Programme for the Aral Sea was approved, and the Interdepartmental Commission was established to develop the National Programme of Turkmenistan for the Aral Sea for 2021-2025.

The Concept determines the main measures to be taken on the national scale to improve the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Aral region. It covers such urgent objectives as creating favorable conditions for life of the population, improving the system of management and use of water resources, the formation of forest zones, and the protection of biodiversity. Measures are outlined to improve economic wellbeing in the Aral Sea region, create a special industrial zone, including the development of agriculture and the introduction of modern land use methods.

Turkmenistan is guided by the same principles in its approaches to the problems of the Aral Sea, standing for more efficient use of the potential of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, enhancing its role and improving its performance. In this regard, our country closely cooperates with the Republic of Uzbekistan, other founding states of IFAS, international specialized agencies.

The international community widely supported the constructive initiatives of Turkmenistan at the sessions of the UN General Assembly, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio + 20”, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan, the Seventh World Water Forum in the Republic of Korea, the International High-Level Conference on declaring 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” by the UN General Assembly in Tajikistan and other major forums.

The proposals presented by Turkmenistan at them are of an extremely specific nature, “tied” to the real needs of people, the goals of regional development and collaboration, including proposals to develop a UN Special Programme for the Aral Sea Basin and to single out the Aral Sea problem as a separate area of the Organization’s activity; as well as on the development and adoption of the Central Asian Water Strategy; a new Action Programme to assist the countries of the Aral Sea Basin; the implementation of the Regional Environmental Protection Action Plan as a unified environmental programme of the countries of Central Asia, and a number of other measures.

The fact of participation and speech of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov on April 23 via the digital system in the Fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) is another striking illustration of the high prestige of the Turkmen state, which makes a significant contribution to the common efforts to establish an interested partnership in addressing the problems of conservation and rational use of water resources, directly related to issues of ensuring environmental security and climate change.

Our position is based on firm principles and consistent, the head of state said in his speech at this Summit. Turkmenistan has stated and continues to state that water and energy problems should be resolved: firstly, on the basis of universally recognized rules of international law; secondly, taking into account the interests of each country; thirdly, with the active participation of international organizations, primarily the United Nations, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasized, expressing confidence that these principles can be universal and applicable, in general, in the approaches of the international community to water issues.

By ratifying the fundamental UN environmental agreements, including the Conventions on Biological Diversity, on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Combating Desertification, the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, the Protection of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Paris Agreement on climate change, Turkmenistan strictly complies with its obligations. Dozens of programs and projects are being implemented at the national and regional levels jointly with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility, the European Union and other authoritative organizations.

Promoting such large-scale undertakings, our country proceeds from the fact that effective international cooperation on water issues must be firmly based on the relevant criteria for work at the national level. These are mutually complementary, inseparable processes, where special attention should be paid to close and effective cooperation with the states of the Asia-Pacific region, broad exchange and use of accumulated experience.

...Throughout its centuries-old history, the Turkmen people have treated water as a priceless treasure that gives life. Traditions of caring for life-giving moisture were passed down from generation to generation, each drop of which was equal to a grain of gold.

In the current era, effective steps, taken to introduce the world’s best practices in the water industry, ensure the efficient and rational use of water resources, contribute to the successful achievement of the goals set by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov to strengthen the economic power of Turkmenistan and improve the people’s welfare.

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