Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan of the Zarafshan River Basin

Project Goal

Community members discuss practical and cost-effective approaches to water managementUNDP in Uzbekistan: Community members discuss grassroots approaches to water management that best suit their local needs

The goal of this project is to develop an Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Use Efficiency Plan for the Zarafshan River Basin of Uzbekistan, to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for the water sector, and to support the integration of water management issues into relevant inter-sectorial policies.

UNDP, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, is developing an Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Use Efficiency (IWRM) Plan for the Zarafshan River Basin. At a national level, the project is developing a modern legislative basis for Uzbekistan’s water sector. The Zarafshan River Basin has been selected as a pilot region in which the IWRM Plan will be introduced, and further results will be scaled-up to the national level as a follow-up activity.

Our Results


  • Developed the first draft of a new Water Code promoting both the modernisation of water management and a transition from supply management to demand management, and submitted the draft to the Government and Parliament of Uzbekistan for review;
  • Developed a strategy to improve water supply and sanitation in the Zarafshan River Basin, and thereby to improve the welfare of more than 3 million people;
  • Introduced 4 sectorial strategies to improve irrigation and drainage systems, increase water productivity, and enhance institutional capacities and information management in the Zarafshan River Basin, thereby supporting 550,000ha of irrigated land;
  • Developed a strategy for a sustainable and water-efficient industrial base within the Zarafshan River Basin to promote clean water, clean technologies and innovative industrial growth, taking into account the establishment of a free economic zone in the Navoi region;
  • Provided almost 2,000 people of the Kanal-Yoqa and Nurobod villages in the Samarkand district with safe drinking water, and trained them in regards to approaches to sustaining their rural drinking water supply;
  • Trained more than 50 people, including 25 women, on social mobilisation techniques that can be used to provide safe drinking water and manage water systems;
  • Created a unified information management system, allowing for the exchange of information on an online base between all water organisations in the Navoi region;
  • Developed training programs on how to manage water resources for schools, colleges, universities and capacity building centers;
  • Developed gender mainstreaming guidelines for managing water resources, and trained 100 women from the Tashkent, Samarkand and Navoi regions in regards to its applicability.

Plans for the Future

  • Establish Rural Drinking Water Consumers Associations in 5 rural communities, through which a sustainable rural water supply model will be tested and replicated in the Samarkand and Navoi regions;
  • 2,000ha of land utilised by 38 farmers and 401 householders in the Sayram, Mekhnatkash, Zafarobod and Kanal-Yoqa villages will have sustainable water supplies as a result of the upgrading of the Mekhnatobod-III pump station, selected in order to demonstrate the key elements involved in improved water management;
  • Create a strategy for improved efficiency in the water and power sector, designed to reduce energy consumption by 36 million kW/h by 2027, in order to reduce electricity demand and the related environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 700 tons.


Total Budget: USD 1,541,170
UNDP: USD 1,471,883.68
The Government of Uzbekistan (in-kind) USD 46,206
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation USD 23,080.32

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