How the Obsolete Soviet management systems survive climate change in Kyrgyzstan

Mohammed-Sadeck-Boulahya

Mohammed-Sadeck-Boulahya

As a highly mountainous country, Kyrgyzstan is well endowed with water resources such as glaciers, lakes, rivers, marshes, and reservoirs. Water resources are abundant and provide Kyrgyzstan with a unique comparative feature for development.

The geographic situation of Kyrgyzstan in the center of the Eurasian continent – distance to main water bodies, high altitude of terrain and proximity to continental deserts – make weather patterns extreme and one of the most vulnerable countries in Central Asia to climate change risks. Additionally, poor infrastructure from soviet times and poor management practices have translated into inefficient water use, resources wastefulness affecting crucial economic sectors such as agriculture, hydropower, as well as drinking water supplies.

HydroMet station in Kyrgyzstan

Kurpsai Reservoir in Kyrgyzstan

The risks of climate change exacerbate the country’s vulnerability to food insecurity, health problems and sustainable development. The population of 6 million is predominately rural and highly scattered, highly vulnerable to climate related events, such as drought, desertification, floods and landslides. Climate change will undeniably exacerbate existing water availability problems such as safe and clean drinking water, sanitation and sewage systems, rural irrigation for agriculture, hydropower, water transboundary rules, posing additional risks to the achievement of national sustainable development priorities. Furthermore, decline in water resources have been identified as one of the most severe climate change risks facing the Kyrgyz Republic, with glacial melting projected to significantly reduce available water resources in the longer-term.

From Nov 2018 to June 2019, OIKO conducted several field missions to Kyrgyzstan to support the Agency for Hydrometeorology, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Ministry of Finance and Dept of Water in the formulation of the National Integrated Water Resource Management System. The OIKO Team piloted an institutional appraisal of the integrated water resource management sector to identify priorities for the climate resilience actions to be financed under a total amount of 21 million euros EU budget support to the Government for 2020.

We use Earth Science technology to improve the quality of life in our world, especially the economic livelihood opportunities of the world's most vulnerable populations and the sustainable use of the natural resources of our planet. Our work is divided in six main program areas- Climate Adaptation, Climate Mitigation, Ecosystems, Natural Resources, Poverty & Livelihoods and Climate Services.