U.S. Ambassador Susan M. Elliott, Deputy Chairman of the Agency of Irrigation and Amelioration Bakhrom Gaforov, and the Isfara Water Resource Management Department participated in a handover ceremony of irrigation machinery to communities in the Isfara district of Sughd Province. The U.S. government, through USAID’s Fostering Transboundary Cooperation on Small Watersheds in Central Asia project, is helping to build partnerships that foster transboundary cooperation among water management stakeholders in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Central Asia Regional Environmental Centre (CAREC) implements the project, which supports creation of small basin councils (SBCs) to develop joint transboundary action plans for the sustainable development of watersheds. SBCs enhance cooperation among national and local authorities, local communities, water users, farmers, NGOs, and other interest groups.
In addition, the project increases cross-border dialog by developing partnerships between water management stakeholders within small watersheds in Central Asia along three small transboundary rivers – the Aspara, the Isfara, and the Ugam. Due to a high level of sedimentation, the Tajik Isfara SBC identified irrigation canal cleaning as a priority action for the river. They used a $50,000 grant from USAID to purchase a tractor for cleaning and maintaining the irrigation canals. Ownership of the tractor handed over today will be transferred to the Isfara Water Department. The Kyrgyz SBC also chose to purchase a tractor for irrigation canal cleaning.
Ambassador Elliott said, “The management of shared water and energy resources is possibly the most strategic issues for the countries in Central Asia. Energy and water can be a source of conflict or, with effective regional management, can be a source for cooperation, economic growth, and stability.”
The Fostering Transboundary Cooperation on Small Watersheds in Central Asia project is one of several projects that build partnerships to support irrigation sector reform in Tajikistan.
The United States Government is committed to continuing its support and assistance to the people of Tajikistan and will continue to encourage enhanced regional cooperation on energy and water resources so that all of Central Asia can realize prosperity. Since 1992, the American people have provided over $1 billion in programs and humanitarian aid that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education and economic growth.