A training of members to the national working groups of the five countries involved in the activities under the agreements on improved water management at transboundary level, titled “Reaching a Consensus for Preventing and Settling Disputes”, and then a Round Table of members to the working groups were held in Tashkent on 4-6 December 2006.
Thanks to the help of the Embassy of Israel, leading experts such as former Director of the Israeli Water Commission Mr. Shimon Tal and international jurist Mr. Jitzchak Alster were invited as lecturers from Israel, which has a unique experience in rational water use and provides its population with water at specific water use being below 300 m3 per capita a year.
The role of cooperation in water sector, even in conditions of countries being in strained relations with each other, is characterized by the following extract from the book: “At the Annual Conference of the Israeli Water Desalination Association at the Institute of Tehshon on 13 December 2002, before 250 delegates from the world Nabil Al Sharif, Chairman of the Palestinian Water Organization, expressed his deep gratitude to Director of the Israeli Water Commission Mr. Shimon Tal for great efforts of the Israeli part in cooperation on water supply to Palestinian population. Meanwhile, he stated that it shows that there is a strong possibility that the concept of water as a means for peace would replace rumors that water will become a weapon of war like oil.”
The participants of the meeting were welcomed by Ambassador of Israel to Uzbekistan Mr. Ami Mehl.
During the seminar, the participants listened to lectures in the agenda, and discussed draft agreements focusing on procedural obligations of the parties and mechanisms for resolving disputes. Based on the results of the discussions, Articles “Responsibilities of the Parties”, “Information” and “Dispute Resolution” in the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Syrdarya River Basin were revised and amended.
The participants noted with satisfaction that the work on the draft Agreement has been completed in this stage, members of the National Working Groups (NWG) and Regional Working Group (RWG) reached a consensus on the text of the draft Agreement and deem it necessary to send it to ICWC members for approval after revisions stated below.
The participants also discussed the proposals to the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Amudarya River Basin, prepared by BWO “Amudarya” with account of the text submitted by the NWG Tajikistan and remarks of the NWGs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and they approved its structure. Moreover, it was deemed necessary:
- to make amendments in it according to the reached understandings on the draft Agreement on the Syrdarya River Basin;
- instruct BWO “Amudarya” together with members of the NWGs of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to make amendments that present the specificity of water resources management in the Amudarya river basin, in particular, specify environmental flows along the river, especially into the delta, specify Articles 6 and 7 in the draft Agreement, determine necessary requirements to water releases, based on the need for impoundment of internal reservoirs, flow lag time and order of water allocation along the river with account of losses;
- members of the NWG Tajikistan to specify their detailed requirements to Articles 8, 10 and 11 in the draft Agreement; instruct members of the NWGs of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to justify environmental requirements to flows in canals, environmental requirements of the delta, requirements to the operation mode of the Tyuyamuyun reservoir, based on requirements for domestic needs and fish bio-productivity conservation.
The experts discussed and agreed on the proposals to the program of activities for further development of the ADB RETA 6163 for 2007. In particular, the following activities were included in the program of activities:
- revising the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Syrdarya River Basin after remarks of the Governments of the Parties;
- improving the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Amudarya River Basin;
- revising the draft Agreement on Strengthening Organizational Framework for Management, Protection and development of Transboundary Water Resources in the Aral Sea Basin;
- developing and agreeing detailed methodical recommendations for accounting of basin-wide costs, data collection and assessment of actual damage;
- developing rules for implementation of procedural obligations to the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Syrdarya River Basin, afterwards to the daft Agreement on the Amudarya River Basin;
- making recommendations for improving the Rules for flow regulation and management in the Syrdarya river basin;
- specifying channel losses over the Amudarya river;
- preparing a register of interstate facilities on the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers.