Accounting of all kinds of water

Water resources used within the boundaries of a drainage basin are abstracted from surface and underground sources. One problem is that the different organizations are responsible for the assessment and record keeping of water resources in these sources. However, a more serious problem is that the different organizations control and manage the use of these water resources without the necessary coordination. Such a practice results in chaos in collecting of data on water resources status, and failures of equality and equity in water use. This problem is especially obvious in dry years.

Most of naturally renewable water resources are formed over the surface of a catchment area and drain into the river network. Formation and transformation of run-off along the rivers are monitored by national hydro-meteorological services. Water management organizations are in charge of delivery and distribution of the water, diverted from rivers, among water users. Small water sources are under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

Another component of renewable water resources is groundwater, which according to its genesis can be divided into two types: groundwater is naturally formed in mountains or over a catchment area; and groundwater is formed due to infiltration on irrigated areas. Groundwater resources within the basin are assessed based on hydro-geological exploring, and following it, usable groundwater resources are approved. Ministries of Geology are in charge of assessment and use of useful groundwater resources without sufficient co-ordination with water management bodies.

Return water that is formed after primary use of natural run-off makes up part of waters used within the boundaries of river basins. It is formed due to releases of excess water from fields and by natural or manmade drainage.

At the basin level, tools for controlling groundwater and return water are the following:

  • Record keeping of renewable groundwater, linked to zones of their replenishment, and estimating allowable amounts for their use as well as quotas (water use limits) for water abstraction depending on annual water availability. At the same time, it is very important to apply the principle of artificial groundwater recharge in average and wet years in order to use water reserves during dry years. During devastating droughts in 1974 and 1975, in the Fergana Valley more than 1,000 water supply wells, drilled in shallow freshwater aquifers, helped reduce water scarcity in this zone. In areas of its use, groundwater tables have steeply dropped; and underground inflow into the river has decreased, but in subsequent years, when water supply wells were put out of operation, the regular groundwater regime has been restored.
  • Regulations on drainage and waste water disposal into international and national rivers and sinks including restrictions for releases of pollutants taking into consideration water availability in rivers.
  • Regulating drainage water quality, including aspects of its intra-system use - the utmost permissible salinity of drainage water may be an indicator to specify the rationality of its use for irrigation.

Source: V.A. Dukhovny, V.I. Sokolov, H. Manthrithilake, N. Mirzaev: Accounting and Use of All Kinds of Water Resources (2009)