Uzbekistan reforms irrigation water management and use in agriculture

TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a government meeting on September 19 to discuss the further reform of the water resources management system and widespread introduction of water-saving technologies in agriculture, the president’s official website said.

It was said at the meeting that today, 46 billion cubic meters of water is spent for the irrigation of 3.2 million hectares of land in Uzbekistan, but only 60 percent of that volume reaches 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, and the crops are not optimally placed.

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 120 sites, and at 300 sites 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.

It was said that time requires the introduction of market mechanisms in the agricultural sector. 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.

Widespread adoption of water-saving technologies is another key task in agriculture. The president ordered to introduce water-saving technologies on 200 thousand hectares next year and on 1 million hectares of sown area through to the year 2025.

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Times of Central Asia