Landell Mills has supported staff of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources on a study tour as part of the Zarafshon Integrated Sub-Basin Project. The visit, which was organised by the UK Irrigation Association, provided insights into water resource management at the Jucar River Basin Authority in Valencia, Spain. The Authority is one of the most advanced water management systems in Europe.
The Authority’s office, along with the river basin’s lake and wetlands, a dam, reservoir and canal were visited during the tour. The Authority, which is a partnership between the Government, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and civil society, is equipped with sophisticated water and weather information systems to help with drought management and flood control decision making. It has also developed practical decision making criteria to effectively deal with drought management and flood control.
The group also attended a session of the Turia River Water Tribunal on conflict solving and decision making. This has been in operation for more than 1,000 years and is one of the oldest legal courts in the world. Eight democratically elected farmers, a chair person and representatives of seven canals meet weekly. Together, they resolve problems related to irrigation distribution issues, disagreements between irrigators, or illegal water extractions in any of the seven irrigation canals of the Turia River. The tribunal therefore serves as a very successful model for other institutions.
The two organisations agreed to set up a twinning and sign a memorandum of understanding. This agreement forms part of a wider project that Landell Mills is managing. Its overall aim is to strengthen water management community organisations and set up river basin organisational structures, which will help advance sustainable integrated water resources management in Tajikistan. This will result in: enhanced rural livelihoods and food security; improved electricity and domestic water supply; and better sanitation.
Daler Holmatov, Chief Specialist of the Tajikistan Department of Water and Energy Policy said:
“The study tour to the Jucar River Basin Organisation was very well organised. We saw sophisticated practices in water management and actual management issues in the Tous Reservoir and environmental protection of the Albufera lake. The Tribunal must be such a good conflict resolution mechanism to address water-related disputes, as it has survived for almost 1,000 years. Our trip to Spain was very productive, we were received with great hospitality and we now know much more about the importance of basin management in the water sector.”
Landell Mills and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources would like to thank Melvyn Kay, Ruth Gage, David Haro and Joaquín Andreu for their enthusiastic support to the Tajik delegation.