National Water Resources Management in Tajikistan

Project completed

This project in the north of Tajikistan has been developed upon the request of the Government of Tajikistan to address the transformation of the Tajik Water Management. The project builds on Switzerland’s expertise and long-term presence in the water management in Central Asia. Specifically, the project will strengthen the capacities of the irrigation water providers and the local communities in effective water resource management, in order to support the ongoing Water Sector Reform process. Concurrently, the project will support the rehabilitation of key irrigation infrastructure and reduce the impact of natural disasters to sustain the achievements of the project.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Agriculture & food security
Climate change and environment
Water resources conservation
Agricultural water resources
Environmental policy
01.02.2013 - 30.11.2018
CHF  6’970’000

Tajikistan with an 8 Mio population is located in the heart of Central Asia. The country enjoys the abundance of water resources, however its rough terrain – 93% of the territory is covered with high mountains – makes it difficult to effectively manage them, In addition, natural disasters (floods, mudflows etc.), pose a high risk by affecting lives and livelihoods of the people.

Due to the lack of adequate resources in the country it is challenging to sustain the massive water infrastructure inherited from the Soviet times; the old system of water management that used to be centralized and nationally-subsidized now needs to be adapted to the modern conditions and realities.

Switzerland is supporting the water sector reform process in Tajikistan through bringing in the expertise on Integrated Water Resource Management, promoting the establishment of decentralized management and overall strengthening the water supply self-financing scheme.

The current project presents the synthesis of achievements to-date, and is designed in a way to pilot the results of the national reform at province level in order to expand and maximize the impact countrywide, jointly with other development actors.

The project builds capacity, facilitates organisational development and designs methodologies and management tools for water users and managers and other stakeholders in the water and agricultural sector. It also envisages provision of policy advice to the policy makers in Tajikistan. 


The overall goal of the project is to strengthen water resources and irrigation management at the basin, canal and on-farm level to increase water and food security, to reduce water-related disaster risks, to improve livelihoods and raise socio-economic indicators in selected rural areas.

Target groups

Direct beneficiaries of the project are 150’000 men and women living in the selected sub-basins, including (i) farmers and low income rural households in project areas, (ii) irrigation systems operators and around 20 water users associations (WUAs), (iii) agencies (including at grassroots level) involved directly or indirectly in the management, monitoring and use of water, (iv) Ministry of Energy and Water Resources.

The potential indirect beneficiaries are the population of Sughd province (1.48 Mio residents of 11 northern districts). 

Medium-term outcomes
  • National Water Management institutions manage and operate basins according to the Water Sector Reform Strategy
  • Water losses are reduced and transparent & equitable water distribution is assured
  • Irrigation and drainage systems are sustainably and equitably operated and maintained
  • River Basin Organizations (RBOs) manage their basin in a sustainable way, according to a River Basin Management plan which follows IWRM principles
  • Equitable water delivery is enhanced (through improved canal automation and data management)
  • Impact of Water related disasters is significantly reduced 

Expected results:  

  • Legal and institutional framework assessment conducted
  • Inventory of infrastructure rehabilitation and priorities assessed
  • Water service delivery organizations have increased technical, managerial and economic capacities and effectively and sustainably maintain the infrastructure
  • Necessary equipment and machinery are at disposal of service providers
  • Demonstration sites with irrigation technologies such as flow meters, irrigation and SMS technologies introduced
  • Legal and regulatory framework prepared for national River Basin Organizations
  • Khoja-Bakirgan and Aksu canals automation system are functioning without interruption
  • Short and long term measures for effective protection of the watershed area are implemented
  • Cross border DRR plans and appropriate early warning systems are established

Results from previous phases:  

Switzerland has been supporting the water sector reforms in Central Asia since 2001, notably through the Regional Integrated Water Resources Management Project in the Fergana Valley. This project started in 2003 with a three-phase implementation process and completed in 2012, supporting Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the introduction of Integrated Water Resources Management principles and creation of grassroots water institutions. It was successful in identifying and addressing the water-related issues at the plot and farm level through the establishment of the model Water User Associations (WUA).

The main lesson learnt is for the water sector to be guided into evolutionary development and for the water resources management capacities to be gradually built within the existing institutional framework.  

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North
  • United Nations Development Programme

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’970’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    6’663’475
Project phases Phase 3 01.12.2022 - 30.11.2026   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.12.2018 - 30.09.2023   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.02.2013 - 30.11.2018   (Completed)