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on the use of water, land and energy resources,
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Increasing water availability of desert pastures


Title Increasing water availability of desert pastures
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

Settlement: Yerbent

Local specifics

The site (nearly 842,000 hectares; population of 8,000 people) is located in the Central Kara Kum Desert. The relief is represented by the combination of “barkhans” (sand dunes) of various forms and “takyr” (dry-type playa) depressions. The majority of the area is covered by desert pastures.

Practice usage period

Start date: 01.01.2009

End date: 31.12.2010

Problem solved through this practice

As soon as people began to lead a settled life, they shifted away from the traditional way of livestock grazing. The land became subject to strenuous exploitation, especially near settlements and watering sites.  Saxaul thickets were cut down for heating and cooking purposes.  The thickets were unable to restore over time due to overgrazing. Frequent movement of sand dunes and severe sandstorms threaten not only dwellings and social infrastructure, but also degrade soil and destroy the limited number of available water wells. Degraded pastures fail to yield enough livestock forage. The shortage of watering sites leads to consolidation of large numbers of animals around existing wells.  Structural changes in livestock production (more goats and cattle instead of camels; more unprotected pastures around settlements instead of distant pastures) lead to vegetation cover degradation, in particular, around settlements and watering sites.

Tools used in the practice

Technology for combatting desertification and droughts by proper management of wells and watering sites (construction and repair of wells, building mechanical protection from reed mats and Saxaul saplings)

Description of the practice and its results


8 new wells built and 6 existing wells repaired, and mechanical protection (reed mats and Saxaul saplings) set up on the territory of 27 hectares.  Water wells also underwent small-scale repair and construction to expand the area of pasturable land and prevent localized degradation.


After the restoration of wells, desert pastures became subject to even and rational use; installation of mechanical protection allowed to stop the approaching sand dunes around settlements.

Lessons learnt and recommendations made

Lessons learnt:

The capacity of watering sites was increased by way of improving the existing infrastructure and, where possible, building new wells infrastructure.  The newly drilled wells significantly aid local population in maintaining their livestock and households.


It is necessary to test traditional drought-resistant grain crops.

Source of practice
  • Traditional tools transferred from generation to generation that proved their efficiency in modern conditions;
  • 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: farmers and representatives of local executive bodies in several settlements.

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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