Project “Water quality in Central Asia”

Duration: March 2009 – September 2012
Project territory: Central Asian countries, Aral Sea Basin
Main donor: UNECE, UN Development Account
Status: Completed


Water quality is an important aspect of integrated water resources management that needs further efforts at national and regional levels. The countries in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are dependent on each other with regard to water resources of transboundary rivers, lakes, and groundwaters.The UNECE project “Water Quality in Central Asia”, implemented in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), aimed at enhancing the development of an efficient and coordinated policy on improvement of water quality in the framework of integrated water resources management in Central Asia. The first stage of the project was implemented in partnership with the European Commission project «Harmonization and approximation of water standards and norms in Central Asia».


The objective of the project was to contribute to the development of efficient and coordinated national policies with regard to water-quality aspects of integrated water resources management in Central Asia.

Project achievements and results:

During the project implementation between 2009-2012 a lot of efforts were directed to renew cooperation on water quality in the region:

  • One of the important results is creation of National and Regional working groups that include representatives of all Central Asian countries. These working groups include national experts of the ministries of water management, environmental protection, health care, and hydrometeorological services
  • The main project achievement is also development of the Diagnostic report and a plan of development cooperation «Development of regional cooperation ensuring water quality in Central Asia», including a step-by-step plan on development of effective and coordinated national policy based on aspects of water quality in accordance with integrated management of water resources in Central Asia
  • Based on this Plan, a pilot program on transboundary monitoring of surface waters was carried out in 2011. Two rivers – Talas (Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan) and Vakhsh (Tajikistan) were chosen. As a result of the pilot program, coordination on joint assessment, monitoring and information exchange concerning water quality was improved
  • Capacities of experts and officials in the field of water quality aspects in integrated water resources management were strengthened. Three seminars were conducted:
    • Seminar on issuing permits and water quality standards
    • Seminar on Monitoring and assessment of quality of transboundary waters
    • Seminar on Purposes arrangement and development of actions program according to EU Water Framework Directive
  • Four national reports «Standards and norms of water quality» were prepared by national project experts