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Restoration of irrigation infrastructure in mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan


Title Restoration of irrigation infrastructure in mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan
Category of tools Restoration of water management infrastructure
Usability of practice for adaptation to climate change Moderate
Implemented by Mountain Societies Development Support Programme Kyrgyzstan (MSDSP KG) on the initiative of Aga Khan Foundation
Used by

Country: Kyrgyzstan

Province: Osh Region

District: Nookat District

Practice also applied in the following localities

Aravan District of Osh Region

Local specifics

The northeastern part of Osh Region lies in the Tien Shan spurs (Fergana Range) with the Pamir-Altai Mountains in the south and west (Turkestan, Alai, Trans-Alai (Lenin Peak) Ridges.  The climate in the region is sharp continental.  The Kyzyl-Suu, Ak-Buura and Kara Darya are the largest rivers in the area used for irrigation.

Practice usage period

Start date: 01.01.2013

End date: 31.12.2016

Problem solved through this practice

Conflicts due to disputes over water resources and pastures

Tools used in the practice

Repair works to restore irrigation networks and infrastructure

Description of the practice and its results

Disputes over water resources and pastures can lead to conflicts, in particular among the communities living in border zones in the Fergana Valley.  Every year, this urgent issue gains even more relevance as - according to expert forecasts – by 2020 Kyrgyzstan’s population may reach 7 mln 70% of which will live in rural communities.


The project to rehabilitate irrigation canals aimed to improve access to water resources and pastures for local residents.  The project also promoted introduction of equal-right practices in the sphere of water resources and pastures management among local population.  All project actions targeted the improvement of living conditions of local residents and decreasing tensions.


On June 8, 2016, Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) held the ceremonial opening of 5 repaired irrigation canals in Nookat District of Osh Region.  Repair works to rehabilitate the irrigation canals were co-funded by Nookat District Water Management Administration, ajyl aimaks (Kyrg. rural local governance bodies) and local residents themselves.

Financial and economic:

  • residents of Nookat District, nearby villages of Aravan District and the town of Kyzyl-Kiya gained access to irrigation water;
  • farmer incomes grew thanks to addressing the issue of irrigation water shortage.


The condition of over 4,000 ha (irrigated land) improved.

Technical results:

The total length of all repaired irrigation canals exceeded 10,900 meters.

Social results:

  • living conditions of local residents improved;
  • tensions associated with the use of water and pastures in Fergana Valley border zones decreased.
Lessons learnt and recommendations made

Lessons learnt:

Repair and restoration of irrigation infrastructure facilitated the improvement of living conditions among local population, decreased tensions and disputes associated with water and pasture use in border zones of the Fergana Valley, and enhanced farmer welfare.


The practice yielded positive outcomes and is recommended for further scaling-up to improve the welfare and ensure sustainable development of mountain communities in border zones.

Source of practice

Foreign tools (transfer of foreign experience)

Brief information on the project

Project title: Improving infrastructure and building capacity of relevant local institutes on effective management of water and pasture resources.

Project duration: 2013-2016.

Project goal and objectives: enhance welfare and ensure sustainable development of mountain communities, prevent conflicts, facilitate stability and security of using natural resources in border zones.

Scale of implementation and project beneficiaries: populations of Nookat and Aravan Districts, town of Kyzyl-Kiya.

Project implementer: Mountain Societies Development Support Programme Kyrgyzstan (MSDSP KG).

Funding source Aga Khan Foundation and the UK Embassy in Kyrgyzstan
Information sources

Mountain Partnership Member News (

Form submission date 18.05.2018
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