SIC ICWC undertakes research and works in different international, regional, and national projects to promote innovative approaches and best practices for regional water management.

The key topics of research, practice, and design work of SIC include:

All-round and scientifically grounded promotion of integrated water resources management (IWRM). SIC ICWC managed to achieve better understanding and application of theoretical grounds of IWRM as a single system integrating institutional reforms with new technical, technological, legal, and information methods and financial and economic mechanisms. This was unique for the Central Asian region and outside it (major project “Integrated Water Resources Management in the Fergana Valley”, 2001-2012, which had as a follow-up the Rural Enterprise Support Project (RESP–II), 2009-2011, and the Water Resources Management Sector Project (WRMSP), 2009-2013);

Water saving and improvement of water and land productivity. As a result of implementation, the ways to solve the problems hampering water and land productivity at plot level were identified. In addition, a mechanism was established for rapid assessments of situation in irrigated agriculture and for transfer of innovations through the communication chain among various entities that are to accumulate agronomic knowledge and water management expertise, translate them into the form, which is understandable for farmers, train trainers and ensure dissemination (Water Productivity Improvement at Plot Level Project, 2008-2012);

Adaptation to climate change. SIC proposes approaches and the modeling tool, which helps to assess climate impacts under various scenarios of water, socio-economic, agrarian, environmental, and energy development in the basin countries and with account of national development plans for irrigated agriculture and hydropower (the basis was laid in such projects as the Dialogue on Water and Climate, 2001-2002; Water Scarcity and Drought due to Climate Change Project, 2002-2005, with the follow up in the “Transboundary water management adaptation in the Amu Darya basin to climate change uncertainties”, 2015-2017);

Monitoring and conservation of aquatic ecosystems in the Aral Sea basin. The categories of socio-economic direct and indirect damage were identified and consequent losses were assessed (Project “Assessment of Socio-Economic Consequences of the Environmental Disaster – the Aral Sea Shrinkage”, 2000-2001). The developed approaches to mitigation of consequences of the Aral Sea drying up included construction of artificial water bodies and optimal schemes for their location (Project “Integrated Water Resources Management for Wetlands Restoration in the Aral Sea Basin”, 2000-2003). As a result of expeditions to the dried bed of the Aral Sea, measures were recommended for the reduction of environmental risk (Project “Stabilization of the desiccated Aral Sea bed in Central Asia”, 2005-2007) and the assessment was given on future water availability and effects of surface (river and drainage) water and groundwater in the Amu Darya Delta and Prearalie (“Dynamics of Surface and Ground Water Change in the Amu Darya Delta and the Aral Sea” as part of the CAWa Project, 2009-2012);

Mainstreaming social and gender aspects in water management. SIC is a pioneer in initiating gender surveys and dialogue in the region. With the support of ADB, the Gender and Water Network was created in Central Asia (gender.cawater-info.net), to promote gender equality in water resources management in the Central Asian countries by empowering women in decision-making processes. Gender aspects are considered and mainstreamed in all projects implemented by SIC;

Education and capacity building in the water sector. Virtually all past and on-going projects of SIC include a training component. Additionally, SIC implemented a number of direct educational projects, such as: “Water Resources Management Project”, 2000-2005 aimed at increasing the capacity of water management professionals; “Environmental Safety, Promoting the Rational Use of Natural Resources and Environmental Education” under the Program “Water and Education” (2007-2008); “Cooperative Program for Capacity Building in Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management in Central Asia” (2009-2012), including the development of an online tool to serve for training purposes (popular version of ASBMM (Aral Sea Basin Management Model)); “Legal and Policy Issues related to Water Resources Management in Central Asia and Ways for its Improvement”, which developed an e-learning course for the Eurasian Center for Food Security at MSU (2014-2015); and “Capacity and needs assessment of institutions responsible for training provision”, Technical Capacity Building component of the Program on “Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Rural Areas in Uzbekistan” (2017), upon completion of which a unified technical capacity building program in the water sector will be prepared.