Problem of clean drinking water in Kyrgyzstan


Sooronbay Jeenbekov during his election campaign set a task to ensure all the regions of Kyrgyzstan with clean drinking water, so that water would be in every house, even in the most remote village. After winning the election and becoming the President, Jeenbekov declared 2018 the Year of Regional Development and made it clear that providing the regions of Kyrgyzstan with drinking water should be one of the priority programs that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

While heading the government Jeenbekov resumed the implementation of the suspended Taza Suu project. "If the people honor me with confidence, and I will be elected as the president, this issue will be at the center of my attention. In the next five years, all regions of Kyrgyzstan will be provided with clean drinking water," Jeenbekov said then.

The President's concern is very clear, because actually all the regions of the country do not have access to clean drinking water. According to statistics, today less than half of the villages in Kyrgyzstan are provided with clean drinking water. The population of a number of villages lives in the 21st century as two centuries ago by ragging water with buckets. They still use water fr om canals for domestic needs. This problem is especially acute in the southern regions of the country - Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken oblasts.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan is one of the rich countries in terms of water resources. And it is extremely unfair that the regions of Kyrgyzstan are not provided with drinking water.

The implementation of the Taza Suu project has begun in Kyrgyzstan in the mid-1990s, then the authorities made promising statements that by a certain time all regions of the country, even the most remote ones, will have access to clean drinking water, which solves a lot of social problems. To realize this goal, international organizations have allocated multimillion-dollar loans, but several years have been passed and the project was suspended.

Much later it was revealed that the problem that prevented the previous authorities from implementing the Taza Suu project was the misuse of budget funds and corruption. And after many years of political change, the former authorities again set up to implement the Taza Suu project, because of frank indignation of the inhabitants of the regions. The Government headed by Jeenbekov started negotiations with donors and seek for funds. Relying on its own resources, then the government began to restore and modernize the water supply networks, wells, and build new ones.

For these purposes, the Strategy for the Development of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Systems in the Settlements of the Kyrgyz Republic until 2026 was developed and adopted. During this time, it is planned to rehabilitate the water supply systems throughout the country, to build new ones. The work on rehabilitation and modernization of water supply networks in 595 villages has already begun. To provide the population with clean drinking water 100 million som ( USD 1 = KGS 68,47) were allocated from the republican budget in 2016, and in 2017 this amount was doubled.

In addition, in the Taza Suu project headed by Jeenbekov in order to prevent corrupt schemes, it was possible to change the whole system of work of this project and introduce mechanisms that ensure transparency in funding and further operation of water supply systems.

The implementation of the Taza Suu project requires 30 billion soms. The previous Cabinet have already signed contracts worth 22 billion soms.

To date, Kyrgyzstan has been cooperating with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in clean drinking water supply, which finances the work on development of water and sewerage networks in small towns in Osh oblast, such as Karasuu, Nookat, Uzgen. Over EUR 36 million are allocated for the construction of 11 facilities.

In addition, at the beginning of the year the Agreement on the Integrated Development of Rural Areas was signed with the European Union, which provides for the allocation of the first EUR10 million for Jalal-Abad oblast. One of the main components of cooperation is the implementation of the project on access to clean drinking water. In general, the program signed with the EU is designed for seven years and provides for the allocation of EUR 72 million to support seven oblasts of Kyrgyzstan.

In 2018, the Kyrgyz Government intends to provide 150 villages with drinking water. "In 650 settlements there are problems with water supply, in 2018 it is planned to supply drinking water in 150 villages, Deputy Prime Minister Daiyr Kenekeev said at a session of the Jogorku Kenesh.

In 2018, the Kyrgyz Government intends to provide 150 villages with drinking water. "In 650 settlements there are problems with water supply, in 2018 it is planned to supply drinking water in 150 villages, Deputy Prime Minister Daiyr Kenekeyev said at a session of the Jogorku Kenesh.

Kenekeyev said that projects to provide the population with drinking water are financed not only by international financial institutions, but also by the government. Last year, 250 million soms were allocated from the budget for this purpose, this year another 250 million soms are envisaged.

Meanwhile, environmentalist engineer Marat Musuraliyev considers it necessary to take into account water consumption, that is, supply consumers with meters and more strictly control over the quality of the consumed water.

"Yes, the problem of drinking water in the regions is acute. Residents of the regions do not have access to drinking water. In addition, we have always had problems with providing drinking water to the regions. We all remember how in previous years they simply plundered the funds allocated for the implementation of the Taza Suu project. At the same time, the question arose whether people who had been involved in these matters received what they deserved. There is also a question concerning the funds themselves, since it is not entirely clear. If it’s a credit, this is not good, but if the money was found by attracting donors, it certainly damaged the reputation of the country," he said.

The expert also strongly emphasize the need to control water consumption and use. Existing tariffs for drinking water, according to the ecologist, may not be fully recoverable. "There must be a record of water and all consumers should be equipped with a meter and then there will be control over the water flow and clear figures for payments. That is, how much the consumer used water, so much and must pay. There are cases when lawn are watered with pure drinking water. But, of course, the tariffs should be appropriate, since the country is rich enough for water resources.

There are also a number of questions to the quality of water. Not all inhabitants of the country have access to artesian water due to the lack of proper wells. In some landfills wh ere there is industrial waste from enterprises and waste from thermal power plants, water can be of completely different quality, harmful to health. Therefore, it is necessary constant monitoring of the wells. Providing drinking water to citizens is a social issue and should be solved. Every resident of the country must have access to drinking water," the expert concluded.

In response, director of the Kyrgyz Integrated Hydrogeological Expedition Bekzat Raimbekov stressed that there are indeed problems with wells, and the main one is that private traders do not register their wells, and there are a large number of wells in the regions that have not been cleaned since Soviet times. In addition, director Raimbekov said that the department itself has a number of technical problems, in particular the lack of proper equipment for conducting preventive works.

"There are more than 8 thousand wells in the republic, 4 thousand in Chui valley and the same quantity in the south. The problem is that private traders drill wells without permission and do not register them, they do not always pass an examination. In addition, the equipment we have is old. There is a technique that has been working since 1972. For today, thanks to the experience and knowledge of our specialists, we work," Raimbekov said.

Concerning the problems with water supply in the regions, the director of the Kyrgyz Integrated Hydrogeological Expedition stressed that there are a number of problems with cleaning the wells in the regions.

"In the regions, often there are not cleaned wells. At the same time, people conduct water from mines, and by the standard it is necessary to use water from wells from under the ground. If the cleaning is carried out in a timely manner, then there is no need to clean the water with bleach. In general, water should be conducted from a depth of 100 meters, depending on the terrain and features of the land. Here it would be desirable to urge the population to conduct water from a sufficient depth, since surface waters can be harmful, due to the fact that there are a lot of septic tanks and other harmful factors. The water extracted from the 15-meter depth is more used for technical purposes," the director concluded.

The special report of the Ombudsman Institute says that currently about 1 million people in Kyrgyzstan do not have access to clean drinking water. And this is in view of the fact that Kyrgyzstan is one of the richest countries in water resources of post-Soviet Central Asia.

According to data of the National Statistics Committee, there are 1,891 settlements on the territory of the country, including 1805 villages. Of these, 725 villages (38%) do not have sufficient access to a centralized water supply system, and in more than 400 (22%) villages there are no water supply networks at all, which means that the population has to take water from open sources.

Reported by Kabar (Kyrgyzstan).