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Tribute to Professor V.A. Dukhovniy (1934-2021)

We deeply regret to inform on an immeasurable loss to the team of SIC ICWC Central Asia and the water community as a whole - Viktor A. Dukhovniy passed away on 14 August 2021.

We lost an Outstanding Leader, Mentor, Scholar, and, most importantly, a Person who was not indifferent! He left a tremendous legacy and guidance to all of us to work for the well-being of the people in Central Asia and dont give up.

We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Victor Dukhovniy.

May his blessed memory live forever in the hearts of all who knew him as a talented and intelligent leader, a great scientist and a bright man.

Life path of Professor Viktor Dukhovniy

Having graduated with honors from Kiev Hydromeliorative Institute as an engineer-hydrotechnician in 1956, he chose by advice of one of developers of the Golodnaya Steppe Prof. Pyshkin the "Kazgolodnostepstroy" trust to start his activity.

By a quirk of fate, he started his work on the day when the Government announced the beginning of large-scale development of the Golodnaya Steppe.

Among the hundreds of young specialists who joined the army of builders and developers of the Steppe, he became one of the most active assistants to such talented organizers and fathers of this development as A.A. Sarkisov, I.Y. Kaminsky, E.I. Ozersky and the scientists V.V. Poslavsky, V.A. Kovda and N.M. Reshetkin.

The whole long-term field activity of V.A. Dukhovniy is connected with the development and implementation together with those "water giants" of the 1960...1970s of the so-called integrated method of irrigation and land development in such large-scale areas as Golodnaya steppe, then Karakum canal zone, Djizak and Karshi steppes, Asht and Kizili schemes in Tajikistan, Lyailyak in Kyrgyzstan, rice-growing zones in Karakalpakstan.

As a chief engineer of Golodnostepstroy and later Glavsredazirsovkhozstroy, he combined work of a great organizer, leading many thousands of construction and development teams, uniting them on the basis of industrial and advanced technical methods, and a scientist, while elaborating scientific foundations of integrated irrigation and land development that were presented in his three monographs. Golodnaya steppe and later the zone of Karakum and Karshi canals were the testing grounds where advanced techniques of vertical, closed horizontal and combined drainage, subsurface pipelines, flume channels, liners, including "combined liners" created under his guidance, as well as technologies of operation of these complex engineering systems were developed with involvement and under guidance of V. Dukhovniy. Organization of machine harvesting of raw cotton developed in the Golodnaya Steppe, with which up to 95% of all cotton was harvested there by machines in 1970-1973, represents a unique experience.

All this led him to defense of his PhD thesis in 1972 and taking position of the director of the largest irrigation research institute in USSR SANIIRI - in 1973.

Having headed SANIIRI he redirected the institutes activity to ensure that research meets production needs and is used in the development of new land and reconstruction of water infrastructure, reclamation of land and for adoption of new irrigation techniques.

On his proposal SANIIRI was transformed into a large multi-profile scientific-production association, which organized the following work cycle: research - design, production, and implementation. This allowed for adoption of new technologies, new equipment, devices, new building materials, structural elements, etc. and formation of a network of pilot farms in a short period of time.

SANIIRI and its Director participated actively in the work of many government commissions on the Aral Sea problem, the program "Land Reclamation in the USSR", the development of a project for transfer of Siberian rivers flow to Central Asia.

Viktor Dukhovniy developed a number of principal provisions on the Aral Sea region program and on improvement of water use in the region. On his initiative, the Ministry of Water Management of USSR Minvodkhoz charged SANIIRI to create the base for the Automatic control systems for the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, which formed the foundation for future basin water organizations of these rivers.

Since 1969, V. Dukhovniy actively participated in the work of international organizations. He was a member of the Soviet Committee on Irrigation and Drainage since 1966, participated as a rapporteur at the 8th ICID Congress in Mexico in 1969, where he presented a report on integrated development of the Golodnaya Steppe, in Moscow - 1975, in Athens - 1978, etc. He chaired the scientific committee of the 1st Afro-Asian Conference of ICID in Tashkent in 1976. His articles were published in the 1st and 2nd volumes of ICID Scientific Proceedings in 1978 and 1982. He earned the great respect of the entire ICID family for the involvement of 5 Central Asian countries in this organization. His participation in the Advisory Committee led to the development of the IPTRID network (SIC ICWC is one of IPTRID centers). V. Dukhovniy was the Vice-Chairman of the ICID working group on the Aral Sea Basin and a member of the working group on drainage. At the ICID Congress in Canada he was awarded the "Prize of Excellence".

In 1990, V. Dukhovniy successfully defended his doctoral thesis. The same year he was awarded the title of professor.

Since independence of the five countries of the Central Asian region, SANIIRI, headed by Prof. Dukhovniy, has been actively involved in the development of interstate water cooperation, which contributed to the establishment of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia in 1992.

The Scientific-Information Center (SIC) was established as an executive body of ICWC initially at SANIIRI and in 1996, by the ICWC decision, was transformed into an independent organization and V. Dukhovniy was appointed its Director.

Under the leadership of Prof. Dukhovniy SIC ICWC unfolds its activity and becomes an analytical and information body of ICWC for elaboration of principles and ways of prospective water sector development in CAR, improvement of management and environmental situation - the origin of transboundary water cooperation in the region.

Activities related to elimination of consequences of the Aral Sea disaster, sustainable water supply in the Central Asian region and reduction of environmental tension have been organized under the guidance of V. Dukhovniy. He led a number of joint international projects in the field of transboundary water management, development of advanced water and land information system, water conservation, etc.

Prof. Dukhovniy is an author of more than 400 pieces of research, 10 monographs, 37 invention certificates, and over 150 reports for international conferences and symposiums. He trained 11 candidates of science.

In 2003, he was granted the title of Academician of Russian Academy of Water Science.

Labor merits of V.A.Dukhovniy were marked by two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (1966, 1971), the Order of Peoples' Friendship (1981) and a number of medals (including for valorous work, 1970). He is the Honored Irrigator of Uzbekistan (1973), Laureate of Beruniy State Prize (1973), USSR Council of Ministers Prize (1979), Laureate of International Award on Irrigation and Drainage (2013). He was also awarded Honorary Diplomas of the USSR Ministry of Water Management and the Supreme Soviet of Uzbekistan. Professor Dukhovniy also received the Award of Excellency from ICID (2002, 2009) and the Award of Third World Water Forum as "Water Voice Massager" (2003) among others.

Team of SIC ICWC Central Asia



Condolences from our colleagues and partners

Hans-Ullrich Ihm, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan

Hanspeter Maag, Former Head Swiss Cooperation Program Central Asia

Matthias Hoher, Center for international Development and Environmental Research

Christopher Conrad, Institute of Geosciences and Geography

Ragab Ragab, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage

Ashwin Pandya, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage

Balasaheb Anantrao Chivate, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage

Harish Kumar Varma, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage

Mohamed Shehata Wahba, Drainage Research Institute, Egypt

Momir Vranes, ICID Australian National Committee

Caroline Milow, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur internationale Zusammenarbeit

Marco Keiner, Environment Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Irene Bondarik, SG RuCID

Jeremy Bird

Eric Tardieu, International Network of Basin Organizations

Jean-Francois Donzier, Christiane Runel, International Network of Basin Organizations

Yasmin Siddiqi, Asian Development Bank

Kai Wegerich, Germany

Loic Fauchon, World Water Council

Daene C. McKinney

Mark Smith, International Water Management Institute



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