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Collecting surface drain and saving water for the development of vegetable and fruit gardening to prevent pasture degradation


Title Collecting surface drain and saving water for the development of vegetable and fruit gardening to prevent pasture degradation
Category of tools System for enhancing water availability
Field of application
  • Use of water resources
  • Use of land resources
  • Environmental protection
Usability of practice for adaptation to climate change High
Implemented by Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan and German Technical Cooperation Agency (GIZ)
Used by

Country: Turkmenistan

Province: Ahal Region

Local specifics

The site (9,000 ha, natural juniper woods) is located in the southwestern section of the Central Kopetdagh – a mountain and agro-environmental zone close to the border with Iran with the population of about 12,000 people engaged in agro-livestock production.

Practice usage period

Start date: 01.01.2009

End date: 31.12.2010

Problem solved through this practice

Natural juniper is cut down as heating timber, and water shortage is connected to poor precipitation. As a rule, villagers collect surface water flowing down the mountain slopes into the specially built tanks called “goudans”. In good years, goudans keep enough irrigation water for one season. However, during the last 5-6 years the goudans didn’t fill up due to insufficient rain.  Deforested slopes are unable to hold rainwater due to quick drain. Because of water deficiency, local population is gradually shifting away from agriculture and gardening and is increasingly focusing on livestock breeding. As a result of excessive use of pastures, fodder is not able to grow on the trodden land which leads to further erosion of mountain slopes.

Tools used in the practice

Set of measures for collecting surface water drain on slope land (construction of a series of small dams; drip irrigation; planting out of juniper)

Description of the practice and its results


  • A series of small dams were built on the cleared slopes to increase soil infiltration by rain water (short-term solution). The dams built in gorges hold the water streams forming during heavy rain, thus, increasing soil moisture content which promotes vegetation restoration;
  • A drip irrigation experiment (10 hectares of orchards) executed; further expansion up to 30 hectares is planned along with the reduction of livestock population;
  • Planting out (transplanting) of juniper to enhance soil fixing and water retention;
  • In Nokhur area, the initiative to develop vegetable and fruit farming supported to prevent pasture degradation, and necessary hydrogeological research conducted;
  • In Kara Kum area, 8 new wells built and 6 existing wells repaired. Mechanical protection (reed mats and Saxaul saplings) set up on the territory of 27 hectares. 


  • 17 dams of various size to prevent soil erosion built;
  • fruit-trees planted on the area of 10 hectares;
  • saplings of Turkmen juniper (“archa”) planted on the territory of 42 hectares to of restore juniper woods.
Lessons learnt and recommendations made

Lessons learnt:

Enhanced methods of collecting surface drain and saving water are necessary to compensate the growing water shortage in order to allow communities to go back to agriculture and make cattle breeding more sustainable.  They are also necessary to stop the increasing degradation of mountain slopes.


Technologies for application in the future:

  • water collection methods, for example, mid-size terracing of slopes, boundary fencing and circular embankments, nursery holes and plant barriers, restoration of infiltration water dams on small streams; for the purpose of water blocking and moisture retention, to test cespitose crops, soil consolidation and the possibility of minimal/zero soil treatment;
  • in order to reduce evaporation and loss of moisture, to use wind-shelter strips, dry and rarefied crops, non-plowing methods, crop rotation and consolidation;
  • enhance drip irrigation systems to improve water management.
Source of practice

Domestic tools (outcomes of research by domestic R&D organizations)

Brief information on the project

Project title: Local-level capacity building and investment for sustainable management of land resources.

Project duration: 2009-2010.

Project goal and objectives: combating desertification and droughts.

Project beneficiaries: population of Garavul and Konegummez daikhan settlements in Bakharly Etrap (district) of Akhal Velayat (Region).

Project implementer: Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan and German Technical Cooperation Agency (GIZ).

Funding source UNDP and Global Environmental Facility
Information sources 

Form submission date 17.04.2018
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