The Concept for the Development of the Water Resources Management System for the years 2024-2030 was approved at a government meeting.
Subsidies for Conservation
Prime Minister Alihan Smailov emphasized that the rational use of water is one of the most crucial tasks. Therefore, the presented Concept will become the main program document in this direction.
The implementation will enable the establishment of a clear system for monitoring and forecasting water resources, necessary for ensuring water security. A significant direction of the Concept is the construction and reconstruction of water management infrastructure, which has not received sufficient attention for many years, said Alihan Smailov.
As an example, he mentioned that the efficiency of pumping stations along the main water artery of central Kazakhstan and the capital – the K. Satpaev Canal – is only 30%. The Big Almaty Canal has not been repaired for 40 years since its commissioning. Additionally, in the Turkistan, Kyzylorda, and Zhambyl regions, a significant part of the main and inter-farm canals are in a worn-out state, causing a 40% water loss.
Another priority of the Concept is to encourage water conservation.
«In the face of water shortages and increasing consumption, it is crucial to reduce losses and ensure careful usage. Currently, we subsidize the cost of water delivery to farmers and reimburse 50% of the expenses for acquiring water-saving technologies. This year, we plan to raise this threshold to 80%,» emphasized Alihan Smailov.
He pointed out that the adoption rate of water-saving systems in the country remains low. For instance, drip irrigation is used on only 84,000 hectares out of the planned 312,000.
«Considering the high cost of technologies for most farmers, it is necessary to organize their own production. Such projects are already being discussed. It is important to implement them,» noted the Prime Minister.
In general, the head of the government outlined the need to establish a system of scientific research in the field of water resource utilization. Specifically, to consider options for the territorial redistribution of resources from the Irtysh River.
Another block is resolving issues of transboundary water use. Alihan Smailov emphasized that, in the development of such agreements with neighboring states, special attention should be given to forming a package of weighty arguments to strengthen negotiation processes.
In turn, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Nurzhan Nurzhigitov announced plans to sign agreements with China and Uzbekistan on the joint use of transboundary rivers.
In his opinion, further development of transboundary cooperation requires the creation of a new and improvement of existing bilateral and multilateral contractual frameworks for the joint use and protection of transboundary watercourses with neighboring states.
«To develop interstate water relations, the Concept for the Development of the Water Resources Management System for 2024-2030 envisages the signing of agreements between the governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on the joint management and use of transboundary water objects, as well as between Kazakhstan and China on water sharing in transboundary rivers,» said Nurzhan Nurzhigitov.
The minister also announced the creation of the hydro.gov.kz platform, which will become a unified water cadastre.
Concept is Ready, Now We Need the Plan
Alihan Smailov instructed the regional akimats to develop roadmaps for the restoration and digitization of communal and private irrigation systems within a month. They should also conduct a multifactorial examination of communal hydraulic structures.
The Prime Minister also noted that for the effective implementation of the Concept, the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan for the Development of the Water Industry is envisaged.
«It will complement the Concept with a clear list of water infrastructure facilities planned for modernization and construction. The Ministry of Water Resources is to ensure the submission of the draft Comprehensive Plan to the Government Apparatus within two weeks,» emphasized Alihan Smailov.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister instructed to submit specific proposals within a month on the organization of domestic production of water-saving equipment.