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News: January 2011

TURKMENISTAN TO LIMIT WATER USE

Source: The Times of Central Asia, 6.01.2011

The government of Turkmenistan has always prided itself on the free utilities it supplies to the population, but new legislation provides for an upper limit on water use, after which household and other consumers will have to pay.

The precise limits will be set out in a separate document to be issued by the government.

To date, drinking water was supplied free to households up to a generous limit of 250 litres a day per person. Where average consumption was deemed excessive, the local authorities would install meters, but even then the annual cost was minimal.

UZBEKENERGO TO BUILD POWER PLANT IN TASHKENT REGION

Source: The Times of Central Asia, D. Ashurmatov, 6.01.2011

In 2011-2014 the Uzbekenergo National Joint-Stock Company will build a Nizhnechatkal hydroelectric power plant (HPP) on the Chatkal River in the Tashkent region worth US $105.5 million, according to Uzbekenergo.

Uzbekenergo started to develop a preliminary feasibility study which will be finished by the end of 2011. According to preliminary estimates, the new HPP will have the capacity of 100 megawatts and will produce up to 350 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The project will be financed through a loan from Uzbekistan's Fund for Reconstruction and Development, Uzbekenergo's funds, and loans from the Uzbek banks.

Today Uzbekistan has 45 HPPs with a total capacity of over 12,400 megawatts including 12,040 megawatts of the total capacity of 16 Uzbekenergo's power plants.

The potential for electricity production in Uzbekistan is 56-57 billion kilowatt hours per year.

Electricity production in Uzbekistan in the period between January-October 2010 increased by 4.6% compared to the same period in 2009, totaling 42.678 billion kilowatt hours.

LACK OF FUNDS DELAYS PROJECTS FOR WATER SUPPLY TO TAJIK POPULATION

Source: The Times of Central Asia, R. Nazarov, 6.01.2011

A lack of funding is delaying the implementation of programs to improve the water supply for Tajikistan's rural population during 2007-2020.

Gul Sharipov, chief engineer of the main office of the Tochik Obi Dekhot (Tajik water in rural areas) said that according to this program approximately 40 to 50 million somoni (about US $11 million) needs to be allocated annually for rural areas. However, only 3%-5% of that amount has in fact been allocated. To implement the program by 2020, $1 billion is required: 15% will be allocated from the state budget, 10% from the budget of local authorities, 5% from revenues from the water supply system, and 70% in the form of investment, said Sharipov.

Currently the project is well implemented in the cities, especially Dushanbe and Khujand, where the situation with the water supply is much better than in rural areas. For instance, the percentage of urban water supply from a centralized system is 97% while in rural areas this rate is slightly over 20%. The overall percentage of water supply in the country is about 49%.

In the mid-1990s, almost all regions of the country faced the issue of a clean drinking water supply for urban and rural areas. The issue was especially relevant for the Khatlon region in the south. In the early 2000s floods washed away a number of water lines in several regions of the country. As a result tens of thousands of people remained without clean drinking water. Out of despair people began to consume water from canals and rivers without proper filtering and cleaning. In some areas the situation resulted in an outbreak of infectious diseases among children. To solve the problem of supplying the population with drinking water the Tajik government has worked on a number of projects. Their implementation, however, requires a lot of money and Tajikistan's state budget is limited. The projects were offered to investors but representatives of the private sector were not interested in investing their own funds. Thus, the government appealed to international financial institutions and the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank responded to Tajikistan's request by allocating funds for these purposes.

The WB allocated funds to launch a project to provide a water supply to the population of Dushanbe city. The project included the cleaning of main water intakes, reparation of pumping stations, and the replacement of pipelines. The situation with the water supply in Dushanbe has changed for the better and is now different from what it was five years ago.

"One of the problems hindering the development of a water supply system in rural areas is a lack of funding to maintain the existing systems (pipes, pumps)," said the representative of the Tajik Obi Dekhot.

Local authorities say they do not have funds for these purposes, and it is very difficult to attract investment. One reason for the reluctance of the private sector to invest in the water supply sector in rural areas is the projects' payback. This is due to low tariffs on water supply services in rural areas.

More than 73% of Tajikistan's seven million people live in rural areas. Moreover, more than half of the total population lives below the poverty line making fees for water daunting. On this basis we can assume that the terms of the program for providing the rural population with clean drinking water will last longer than originally planned. The government will have to find other ways to solve this issue.