RESOLUTION OF THE NWO EECCA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “WATER CONSERVATION AND EFFECTIVENESS OF WATER USE”
The participants of the International Conference “Water Conservation and Effectiveness of Water Use” gathered in Minsk on 21st of May 2015 within the framework of the Network of Water-Management Organizations (NWO) from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) and discussed the topical issues related to water use, namely in the three key directions:
- Growing water scarcity and water security challenges: natural – climate change; anthropogenic – growth of demand, future development, including hydropower;
- Application of high technologies in all areas of water regulation and use (automation, informatization, water conservation, energy saving, etc.);
- Problems related to water accounting and quality of water services;
The participants have agreed that the main causes of water tension are:
- growing water consumption as a consequence of population growth, economic development and climate change;
- poor controllability of water as a result of lower attention from the side of national government to water sector in some countries;
- weak policy coordination among water-related sectors, such as agriculture, energy, environment;
- lack of clear advanced planning of water use in many countries, taking into account intensification of destabilizing factors;
- water right is not distinctly affirmed at international, regional, national and basin levels, as well as at the level of water users or consumers and their associations. There are no clearly defined mechanisms for searching tradeoff decisions in case of conflicting interests of water users: agriculture, land reclamation, water transport, fishery, hydropower, etc.;
- at all water hierarchical levels, even if water service fees are applied, there is no real interests of stakeholders in the use of economically-based mechanism for water distribution and use.
The participants believed it necessary to enhance efforts to counteract the factors causing water tension through common orientation of water-management organizations and water users towards efficient water use, including stronger coordination among the countries and water-related sectors. This must be a principled line of actions of the world community under coordination of UN organizations and of the national governments, with particular focus on transboundary water cooperation that involves about 40% of the world’s water resources.
Solutions on integrated water and land resources management should be based on reasonable water use by all users with the help of decision support system and up-to-date water conservation technologies, through reduction of unproductive water losses, re-use of wastewater in agriculture and industry, intensification of production of traditional and drought-tolerant crops, and involvement of all stakeholders dealing with food security in solution of problems related to water insecurity.
Taking into account significantly uneven spatial distribution of water resources and aggravation of water scarcity in some of particularly arid zones, as well as global trends, the re-distribution of flow within and between basins is largely a means to overcome temporary and continuous water deficits.
While noting that maintenance of professional community, information exchange and dissemination of best practices through NWO EECCA is of high importance, the participants made mention of the Network work progress in 2013-2014, including:
- issue of Network’s information collections and scientific publications (http://eecca-water.net/),
- extension of the knowledge base on CAWater-Info portal (http://www.cawater-info.net/bk/rubricator.htm) as part of a system of uniform tools for implementation of IWRM that are adapted to specific conditions of water management in river basins subjected to different degrees of water scarcity in arid and semi-arid zones of EECCA countries,
- participation of NWO EECCA members in international events, including in preparatory activities to the 7th World Water Forum and in the Forum itself in Korea on 12-17 April 2015.
At the same time, the participants stressed a need for activation of measures directed at wider involvement of basin organizations in NWO EECCA activity. The effectiveness of basin organizations can be improved strongly through public involvement.
The participants welcomed the UNECE proposal (Mr. B.Libert) to organize such first event as part of the Kazakhstan national program and requested a member of the Network’s Board of Directors Mr. A.D.Ryabtsev to take the lead of this work together with UNECE.
Summarizing opinions gathered during such events will allow formulating a message to the country governments for further improvement of legal, institutional and technical frameworks of the water sector.
In context of the mentioned above, the participants thought it necessary to intensify activity of the Network by:
1. Submitting regularly messages on national events in area of water management and information on new publications, software, methodologies and training materials in order to raise awareness among water professionals and encourage water sector development in EECCA.
2. Strengthening Network’s national centers, their equipping and involving in their activity more water-management, academic and non-governmental organizations in order to create a multistakeholder platform for improvement of national water sectors and overcoming of challenges.
3. Building a bridge among the Network’s members and water and agriculture decision makers in EECCA countries to inform them about existing global trends in water development as compared to the existing situation in the national water sectors of our countries so that to raise effectiveness of the Network activity.
4. Enhancing cooperation with national focal points of international networks and organizations, such as Global Water Partnership (GWP), International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and others.
5. Enhancing support of NWO EECCA from the side of the Permanent Technical Secretariat of the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) through:
- involvement of members of both NWO EECCA and other regional networks of INBO in activities related to extension of the knowledge base;
- raising of funds for twinning with European basins; exploring possibilities for adaptation of European water directives to conditions and needs of the EECCA region; adjustment of EU financial mechanism to conditions of the EECCA region.
The participants proposed to organize a Network conference in 2016 on the theme “Cultural and educational aspects of water management in EECCA countries” and address there the following issues:
- Water and culture;
- Water and civilization;
- Water and ethics;
- Water and education.
The participants have agreed with proposals to hold relevant events in 2016 dedicated to 50-year anniversary since the adoption of the State Program for Land Reclamation in USSR.
Finally, the participants thanked UNECE and GWP CACENA for support and assistance provided to the Network, including in organization of this Conference. The participants also thanked the Russian Government for the long standing support of NWO EECCA.
The participants also appreciated very much assistance rendered by the Institute of Land Reclamation at the Belarus National Academy of Sciences, the Institute “Belgiprovodkhoz”, and the Department for Land Reclamation and Water Management at the Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture in preparation and organization of the Conference.