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Land Reclamation Hydrogeological Field Office of the Kyrgyzstans State Committee for Water Resources and Land Reclamation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 September 2010

Situation related to land reclamation

Intensive salinization and water logging of irrigated land has been observed recently in the Kyrgyz Republic, consequently, leading to losses of such land for agricultural production. Out of  1019.7 thousand ha of irrigated land, 92.7 thousand ha are in bad condition,  20.8 thousand ha are subjected to reed invasion. 156 big and small settlements are water-logged.
By October 2010, the republic had 5652.2 km of collector-drainage network (CDN), including 650.4 km of the inter-farm network, of which 146.5 km or 23% need to be repaired, and 5001.8 km of the on-farm network, of which 2104.8 km or 42% has to be repaired and reconstructed. 32 vertical drainage wells need rehabilitation in the total quantity of 55 wells.
In order to keep CDN operational, it is necessary to clean 400 km of surface network and flush 300 km of subsurface network annually. Actually, only 50-60 km of surface network are cleaned and 20-30 km of subsurface drains are flushed. 
A tendency towards deterioration began to show in early nineties and progressed during a 15-year inertia both of new land masters and of all actors related to this process.
Every year, 35-40 thousand ha of irrigated land are not used because of poor conditions, 90-95 thousand ha are not irrigated or irrigated by unsuitable water – these account for about 40% of the total agricultural fund. 
Unfavorable conditions caused critical decrease in soil fertility, and crop yields in such poor soil decreased by 50-90%.

Conditions of irrigated land worsen for the following main reasons:

1. Economic activity (lack of adequate operation of CDN, use of water unsuitable for irrigation, erection of dykes in drainage network, treatment of soil to the same depth repeatedly, non-observance of irrigation technique, crop rotation, and watering regimes).
2. Dramatic reduction of investments in the water sector, and, as a result, drop in sizes of routine and capital repair for irrigation and drainage systems.
3. Funding of reclamation objects far inferior to need.
4. Recently, there has been no virtually construction or reconstruction of drainage, capital leveling and leaching of land, and application of chemical methods for land reclamation.
5. Because of downsizing of large farms, reclamation measures are not included in the operational sequence plans of agricultural enterprises, and, hence, not implemented.

An analysis made for a period since 1990 showed that we invested 30 times less funds in land reclamation as previously.
All the above-mentioned factors cause significant damage to environmental equilibrium, speed-up water-logging and salinization processes, and, finally, lead to desertification of land.
Such use of irrigated land leads to economic downturn, increases poverty, and, consequently, causes civil conflicts, internal migration towards the capital of the republic and other large cities, and contributes to migration of both non-indigenous and indigenous people outside the republic.

Measures to prevent degradation of irrigated land 

At present, the annual State Land-Reclamation Inventory is kept to monitor and assess irrigated land. The inventory shows the dynamics of changes in irrigated land conditions, the areas of land used, the general characteristics of drained areas, the characteristics of monitoring observation network, as well as the list of measures needed to improve land conditions. However, currently, reliability of this inventory varies from 50 to 70% due to regular non-operation of observation wells. For high quality and accurate monitoring of land conditions in the republic, it is necessary to rehabilitate 1411 wells or 60 % of the total quantity of wells. Otherwise, the monitoring data would not reflect actual state-of-affairs, and, as a result, all planned measures to prevent degradation would not produce desirable effect.
Therefore, financial support of land-reclamation services at national, regional, and local levels is needed in order to rehabilitate wells and extend the coverage area of potential unfavorable land by enhancing technical, hydro-chemical, and observations services that now are very poorly developed.

For better operational management, complete computer resources support is needed. This entails computerization of provincial and rayon organizations for implementation of monitoring over land conditions. Using special software, it would be possible to have a clear picture in-situ and predict land conditions quite reliably. Besides, this would allow creating a data bank containing information on all land users. It turn, this would help coordinating more efficient cropping patters in order to avoid land deterioration and increase crop yields. In addition, such computerization would allow dissemination and use of data, statistics, and maps accumulated over the last 20 years.
Enhancement and development of land-reclamation service’s capacities are needed for implementation of concrete measures aimed at preventing land deterioration in specified land areas. However, at present, whereas some land-reclamation measures are taken, they are implemented in scattered areas without system approach and respective justification. Naturally, this does not produce the desirable effect.

Brief analysis of land and water relations (regulatory framework, its updating and improvement)

In the last twenty years, the land-reclamation service had to use regulations and methodological recommendations of the 70-s and 80-s. Under present conditions, such approach is inadmissible and needs to be revised. All proposed changes should be fixed in appropriate regulatory documents and approved as applicable in the law.
Existing national regulations establish a legal basis but do not always regulate coordination among various departments. Therefore, yet there is no inter-departmental coordination regarding land and ameliorative inventories. For the both inventories, soil and salt surveys in agricultural areas should be made. Currently, these surveys are made by both the State Inventory Agency and the former Department for Water Resources without any mutual coordination and consultations.
Recently, land plots have been allocated to residential and industrial building construction, including in the reserve areas of irrigation and drainage systems. Moreover, the owner of these land plots is the State Enterprise “Irrigatsiya”, while permissions for land allocation is issued by the State Inventory Agency’s organizations. Thus, the state land resources are bargained away. 
In December 2004, the Legislative Assembly of Zhogorku Kenesh (the Kyrgyz Parliament) adopted a Water Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Code regulates water relations in area of use, protection, and development of water resources and conservation of the environment. 
However, the Code does not establish a level of responsibility of land users for taking irrigated land out of agricultural production due to over-irrigation, use of unsuitable water for irrigation, erection of dykes in CDN, breach and removal of observation wells, failure to comply with crop rotation system and irrigation schedules, and lack of land reclamation measures. This means that for implementation of the Code in practice, additional subordinate acts, instructions and explanatory materials are needed.

Major problems:

1. Reduced productivity of irrigated land.
2. Rates of irrigated land losses outrun the rates of land rehabilitation.
3. Moral and physical degradation of irrigated land.
4. Low efficiency of monitoring and evaluation system.
5. Insufficient and outdated legal framework.
6. Lack of harmonization of legislative and regulatory frameworks

Objectives and tasks:

1. Improve productivity of irrigated land.
2. Improve land conditions.
3. Speed-up rehabilitation of unfavorable land.
4. Attract private and foreign investments.
5. Reconstruct existing and construct new collector-drainage systems.
6. Prevent secondary salinization and water-logging of industrial and residential buildings.
7. Increase efficiency and use of irrigation network by reducing water losses through seepage and unproductive wastes.
8. Implement measures aimed at improving performance of reclamation infrastructure.
9. Continue mechanical cleaning and flushing of subsurface drainage, repair of observation and vertical drainage wells, and repair of hydraulic structures.

The above tasks could be fulfilled through the external aid under the terms of co-financing, i.e. sharing costs by the Government, and the well-established partnerships among all concerned ministries and departments. 
Moreover, direct executors should have free access to any relevant information of enterprises, institutions, and organizations, irrespective of their ownership form and departmental affiliation, and, as well as of individual land users for fulfillment of the tasks.

Polyvaya str., 1, Alamedin village, Choo province, 722191, Kyrgyz Republic
Phone: (996 312) 36 74 68
Fax: (996 312) 36 71 86



Last Updated ( Monday, 20 September 2010 )