Central Asia Regional Water Information Base Project (CAREWIB)

Central Asia Regional Water Information Base Project (CAREWIB) aims at the improvement of information provision in water and environmental sectors in Central Asian countries in order to promote transparency openness and foster public support for rational natural resources use.

The project implements by SIC ICWC in Tashkent, UNECE, Zoi Environment Network with active participation of EC IFAS and ICSD with financial support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Main task for Phase I (December 2003 - December 2006)

1. Regional water information portal

The web-site of ICWC is enhanced into a regional water information portal, providing user-friendly on-line access and links to other on-line information sources maintained elsewhere. Regular advertising of the Portal is carried out by all the project partners, including their web-sites and distribution lists. A database on existing and forthcoming policies, strategies, programs and projects of national Government, non-Government and regional organizations, donor organization and agencies having activities in the water and water related field (hydropower, environment) is developed. Cooperation with donors and local organizations will be organized. Beside this, the water, land and agricultural database WARMIS will be updated with recent data and upgraded into a fully compatible on-line resource. An on-line bibliographic database will be made available.

2. Outreach

A series of hard-copy publications based on information available though the Portal and targeting specific user groups (policy- and decision-makers, the general public, youth) is prepared and distributed in the Central Asian countries throughout the project implementation period of 2003-2006. The publications include ICWC and IFAS bulletins, popular brochures and fact sheets, ‘vital maps and graphics’ etc.

3. Capacity building

Capacities of the Central Asian countries to provide timely water related information to ICWC for decision-making and further dissemination are increased by setting up a permanent network of regional SIC correspondents. Twelve oblast-level water organisations are enabled to process, report and communicate information in a digital form through providing technology for electronic communication and data processing with a training workshop (the recipients are 6 water organisations in Uzbekistan, 2 in Kazakhstan, 2 in Turkmenistan, 1 in Kyrgyzstan and 1 in Tajikistan).

4. User needs and feedback assessment

Two consultations are held with major user groups during project implementation to review the progress and effectiveness of the both the regional portal and the outreach information materials. A user feedback system is set up as part of the regional water portal. Results from the user workshops and the user feedback system are used to improve the quality of the services.

Main task for Phase II (August 2007 - June 2010)

1. Enhance informational scope and scale of the CAREWIB Portal and Information System including strengthening of data collection mechanisms

The principal objective/task of this component is to enhance information scope and scale of the CAREWIB Portal (1a) and of the Information System (1b) including strengthening of mechanisms for data collection. Throughout Project Phase-2 the utmost efforts will be focused on continuous development of these blocks and reinforcement of links between them.

During Phase 2 the Portal will further improve access to information on water management and ecology in the Aral Sea basin, and enable users to interact with each other. The Portal will also provide adequate combination of sound web-services, solid content and relevant references to other online resources. It will provide assistance in collecting, processing and transferring of aggregated thematic information obtained from various sources and systems (internal and external) to targeted end user groups, and support the teamwork approach in using information and promote new knowledge forthcoming in the process of interaction among people. Available information will be structured on the basis of the classification system developed by SIC ICWC and provided on the Portal as a hyper- textual Knowledge Base on the use of water and land resources of the Aral Sea basin. Specific attention will be devoted to social and economic consequences of water/environmental and transition policies.

The interactive development of the Portal trough launch of various forums and electronic conferences on specific issues will facilitate formation of a Virtual Water Community of Central Asia involving a broad range of experts, representatives of authorities as well as NGOs and the public. The Virtual Water Community will promote the development of integrated management of water resources and improve mutual understanding among stakeholders and countries in the region.

The following is anticipated in this context:

Aggregation of applications and the Portal content – structured and unstructured – into a unified information space addressing current requirements;

Integration of data collected from various sources with different formats (databases, word documents, excel sheets and multimedia) within a single concept and providing a smooth access to this information through a user-friendly interface;

Development of advanced search tools facilitating instantaneous retrieval of relevant information;

Development of informational support to and maintenance of online forums, electronic conferences, blogs and other forms of the Internet discussions to stimulate growth of targeted virtual communities and their dynamic involvement in the desired dialogues;

Creation of effective informational links with the key news broadcasting agencies of the Central Asian region such as Avesta, Asia Plus, Kabar and others;

Expansion of information exchange with national and provincial basin organizations and even WUAs to enhance their involvement in the Portal functioning and the process of its improvement;

Expand the Portal Knowledge Base with information collected by the “IWRM-Fergana” Project to facilitate effective extension services to WUAs and farmers;

Development of a reliable system enabling effective exchange of information, analysis of data and generation of customized informational products meeting practical needs of the Portal users.

Simultaneously, the Information System will be further developed to ensure its transformation into an official decision making and record keeping system for ICWC. Efforts will be made to broaden the public access to the parts of the IS through the Portal. In addition to reliable data collection and use, the improved Information System will enable sophisticated analysis and modeling of water and land resources in the Aral Sea basin. Decision support and modeling tools embedded in the IS will facilitate the selection of adequate regional strategies and decision-making related to ongoing management and operation of water/environmental sectors thus increasing their efficiency. Moreover, analyses carried out on the basis of enhanced IS data processing capabilities will provide essential inputs to the discussions and dialogues maintained through the interactive Portal forums.

The following is intended in this context:

Improvement of the IS interface to meet user preferences within the scope of their professional needs;

Widening the IS accessibility to external users within the limits determined by ICWC;

Regular distribution of analytical reviews to water organizations, linking hydro-meteorological data to water-related information, analyses of river-channel and basin balances, to assist in estimation of water reserves within the region, in each country and sub-basins;

Development and incorporation of extended modeling and decision support programs in the IS software to enable formulation of alternatives, identification of regional development trends, integrated assessment of water and environmental management options and execution of other tasks;

Classification of soil and climate data and their subsequent linkage to the water use trends through the SIC ICWC simulation models, incorporating the DSS elements, to forecast water allocation demands and facilitate efficient water use;

Enhancement of water users’ participation in and practical contribution to the long-term improvement of water and environmental management in the region.

Furthermore, it is equally essential to improve the quality and quantity of information available in English and to develop an English version of IS interface. Dedication of considerable efforts to this line of development will draw global interest to the Portal, increase usefulness of its informational products and contribute to wider recognition of the CAREWIB project by the international community. Simultaneously, at the national level it has to be identified which are the key information items that shall be made available in the national languages via the portal. This will amplify attractiveness and value of the portal to national grass root users and facilitate effective utilization of the portal by them.

The principal project outcome is that the Portal and the Information System contains and provides authorities and the public with reliable up-to-date information on key water, land and economic parameters for all major water bodies and watersheds, and that regular and sustainable exchange of information is in place between principal holders of such information and CAREWIB.

2. Produce and disseminate various informational products

The principal objective/task of this component is to continue the production and dissemination of regular SIC ICWC publications and other informational products (in hard copy and digital forms) on water and ecological issues for professionals, institutions, authorities and the general public throughout Central Asia and outside the region.

The following is expected in this connection:

Production and dissemination of various publications in hard copies, digital format and online;

Analysis of content downloading statistics to identify user groups and their preferences;

Direct mailing of the bilingual “News-CAWater-Info” bulletin and advertising booklets to subscribers;

Production and distribution of CDs with e-learning materials addressing practical needs of the users;

Production and timely delivery of customized thematic maps to ICWC members in accordance with their specific requests.

The desired outcome is that priority user groups receive regularly CAREWIB information through the Internet and in other forms, and use it in water management, planning and awareness raising.

3. Continue capacity building in water management organizations and among other users and integrate CAREWIB into decision-making processes of national, regional and international bodies as well as in the public debate

The primary objective/task under this component is to develop CAREWIB horizontally and vertically at national level, develop tools designed to integrate CAREWIB into decision-making processes of national, regional and international bodies as well as in the public debate.

According to the draft Agreement - Establishment and Functioning of National, Basin and Regional Databases on Integrated Water Resources Use and Protection in the Aral Sea Basin - approved by ICWC members at the 44th ICWC meeting (Ashkhabad, March 30-31, 2006), an important avenue to sustain the project is to improve access to information on water resources, water management and the environment in Central Asia at regional, basin and national levels through initiating development of national Information Systems closely linking regional, basin and national databases. The Project will lay a foundation for national Information Systems (NIS) through cooperative efforts of SIC ICWC and ICWC members.

This will first consist in establishing frameworks for national IS in the five countries of the region analogous to that of the regional IS through transfer of IS software, methodology and collected data bases on countries as a whole and provinces, and intensive training of national IS developers.

The main focus will be a customization of the interface in accordance with national specifics and preferences of ICWC members regarding data base scope and scale such as the options to add extra layers of information or to sort it either province- or basin- wide. Moreover, promotion of national project participants to the key positions of the future NIS teams will ensure effective utilization of their solid expertise and sound skills acquired during Phase 1, adequate updating of the national DB (NDB) and timely transfer of corresponding informational layers to the regional IS and vice versa.

The advantage of maintaining regular, relevant and reliable data exchange among the regional, national and basin DBs is the possibility to identify water flow reserves through careful examination of water delivery and consumption data. Comparison of data from each level of water hierarchy will detect inconsistencies and locate intersections with irrational water flow losses. The IS analytical capabilities launched during its improvement within Phase-2 will facilitate the assessment of accuracy of water balances from each specific DB as well as further integration of CAREWIB into the decision–making process of various project stakeholders. For the public debate, the publication of articles written on the basis of the IS analytical products will be of particular importance.

Another objective/task of this component is capacity building in water management organizations and among other users. The potential of province water management organizations will be augmented by involving them into the sustainable regional network of correspondents actively interacting between each other. Efforts will be made to train experts of national water management organizations (ministries and basin/provincial water management authorities, canal management organizations, WUAs) to adequately utilize the CAREWIB resources for effective management and efficient operations. Simultaneously, the project will raise priority user groups’ (NGOs, research and educational institutions and other stakeholders) awareness of CAREWIB contents, tools and accessibility, and enable them to employ the CAREWIB features in their professional activities as well.

The following is expected in this context:

Transmitting of available country- and province-wide database contents to corresponding NIS;

Development of a common methodological basis for national Information Systems with subsequent transfer of the CAREWIB software and customized IS interfaces to national IS developer teams;

Organization of initial training for NIS developers to introduce DB maintenance methods, share experience and improve practical skills of NDB creation and the effective utilization of the CAREWIB interface. The national IS developers will be also adequately supported during the project implementation through technical and methodological consulting provided by IS experts at SIC ICWC;

Linking of NISs established by teams of developers to CAREWIB IS to facilitate regular exchange of information among the DBs and updating of the regional system with relevant data;

Organization of training and consulting, developing interactions among specialists of national water management organizations (ministries, basin/provincial water management authorities, canal management organizations, WUAs), research and educational institutes, NGOs, and other stakeholders to facilitate incorporation of the CAREWIB IS and the Portal applications in their daily operations and introduction of advanced technologies to increase efficiency of water management practice in the Central Asian region;

Integration of the CAREWIB IS into decision-making processes of ICWC, IFAS bodies, EurAsEC, national ministries and other users by promoting the capabilities of CAREWIB during various meetings of these organizations.

The desired outcome of this project component is that major regional (in particular ICWC, IFAS, ICSD), national and international bodies, public groups active in water/environmental policy refer to and use CAREWIB information in their decision-making and debate.

4. Ensure long-term political and financial support to CAREWIB

A key objective/task of this project component is to establish and develop effective cooperation and stable links with important actors inside and outside the region. Achievement of this goal is crucial for successful implementation of the overall project and its future sustainability.

During Project Phase-2 a solid political support and a sound economic basis for the CAREWIB Project shall be built up. Active and constructive cooperation with ICWC and IFAS through representation offices of IFAS in the countries and national agriculture/water management ministries is as essential as is fostering collaboration with other relevant authorities in Central Asia. Moreover, development of conditions for a long-term functioning and funding of future activities within the Project should be based on a broad network of partners in the region. Possibilities of cooperation with other donors and the international and national/regional private sector will be evaluated.

Currently the resolution of regional problems is impossible without the participation of international organizations. The limited financial capacities of state agencies in CARs will require continued grant funding by donors including SDC also after Phase-2.

The consortium will aim to identify additional sources of financial support to establish national Information Systems during Phase-2.

The following is planned in this connection:

Development of a long term business plan with funding requirements for the next 10 years;

Activate cooperation with authorities and organizations in the region interested in getting access to and management of information (ministries of environment, emergency situation and National Strategic Centers);

Elicit cooperation with other projects/initiatives operating at present in the field of information generating, transmitting and use;

Initiate long-term cooperation with other potential partners, including the World Water Council, International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), TECHWARE, International Office for Water, UNESCO Water Portal, ICID, etc.;

Establish contacts with ongoing and future projects. Offers about would-be cooperation and information placement in the Portal will be made to all projects being implemented in the region at present and prepared for initiation. Emphasis will be on the Portal outreach activities, responsiveness, access and accuracy of information, current audience of information users, etc. It might be possible to render information to would-be projects (including those in the stage of project proposals) on request;

Develop an incentives plan for private sector cooperation partners, prepare a specimen draft sponsoring agreement and negotiate with potential private sector sponsors. Initially, main emphasis should be given to multinational companies;

Carry out numerical computation based on the current DB using SIC ICWC models, delivering obtained results to clients on request as analytical reviews on a commercial basis (economic, agricultural, water-energy analysis, as well as digitizing of space images into format of GIS-programs available to all);

Prepare a long term funding plan until full sustainability is achieved and donor funding can be ceased.

The principal project outcomes for this component are that adequate political support is assured and long term financial resources needs are analyzed and at least partially available towards sustaining CAREWIB in the long-term.

Main task for Interim Period (September 2010 - December 2011)

CAREWIB project's interim period after Phase-2 is aimed at further improvement of information support in water and environmental sectors of the Central Asian region initiated by CAREWIB Phase-1/2 Project.

The specific objectives of the interim period are the following:

1. Contribute to closer inter-institutional cooperation under the IFAS umbrella with the purpose of fostering the development of a water management decision support system and responsibility for respective data collection and input

Creation of Working Group consists of the main suppliers and customers in the region (EC IFAS, ministries, SIC ICWC, BWOs, and RHC (NHMS) etc.) for evaluating of the project with the aim to detect deficiencies, problems, gaps in the development of information space and exchange and to defining new customers and additional information suppliers.

Elaborating the cooperation mechanism on the basis of abovementioned evaluation not only within the project, but with regard to the information exchange as a whole.

Developing, elaborating and testing analytical instruments of IS, including:

multi-playing Aral Sea Basin Management Models (ASB-mm);

model of water balance of river sections (selection of river sections, and problem solving on flow distribution, channel inflow calculation, water losses in the river-bed) - with participation of BWOs;

estimation and forecasting of lateral inflow to Syrdarya and Amudarya - with participation of BWOs;

estimation and forecast of water content in the rivers of the Syrdarya and Amudarya Basins by the climatic and hydrological hindcasting series - with participation of RHC, Hydromet services, BWOs;

real-time forecasting of return water and lateral inflow - with participation of BWOs ;

finding discrepancies in river water balance - with participation of BWOs;

analysis of the socio-economic aspects related to activity of other sectors connected to water sector;

Developing computer models and interfaces to solve routine problems of water resources management and estimation in an on-line regime:

Model of reservoir's waterworks facility with hydroelectric power station (object selection and problem solving on streamflow regulation by reservoir, evaluation of HES's operating mode, including electricity production, deficit calculation, releases and others) - with participation of CDC “Energy”, BWOs

Model of hydrochemical composition of water for Amudarya river (selection of gauging station, river section, input of data on hydrochemical composition, analysis of hydrochemical balance [in mg-eq], data validity estimation) - with participation of BWOs

Evaluating performance of the models - analytical instruments including used analytical models and initial data.

2. Rationalize the information service’s institutional structure in Central Asian water sector

Broadening the Political&Geographical coverage (Afghanistan);

Improving the institutional structure (involving EC IFAS, SIC ICSD, BWO, RHC, NHMS, CDC “Energy”);

Increasing the financial support (cooperation with donors and international organizations: Germany, France, USA, World Bank, WMO, WHO, others);

Cooperation with other data holders (CACILM, UNDP, others);

Conduct stakeholder workshop to plan the project and define its role in the ASBP 3 framework;

Making, matching and finalizing the Project Document for the next phase on the base of elaborated cooperation mechanism

3. Enhance the content and increase access to the Information System, including strengthening of data collection and information retrieval mechanisms at the regional and national levels

Evaluation of the project by the main suppliers and customers in the region (EC IFAS, ministries, SIC ICWC, BWOs, and RHC (NHMS) etc.) with the aim to detect deficiencies, problems, gaps in the development of information space and exchange and to defining new customers and additional information suppliers.

Elaborating the cooperation mechanism on the basis of abovementioned evaluation not only within the project, but with regard to the information exchange as a whole.

Main activites:

Filling the regional and national DBs with new information, based on model and GIS requirements;

Spatial visualization of databases' regional statistics through GIS-interface;

Inclusion of the whole CA into the IS (include national provinces outside the boundaries of the Aral Sea basin) - with participation of EC IFAS and its branches and national water management organizations of CA, ICSD, CDC ”Energy”;

Making and developing a new database on the quality of water resources;

Making and developing a database block on the assessment of long-term forecasts and climate change impact on water resources of Central Asia;

Creating a Database on ASBM-3 projects.

Inclusion of data from Afghanistan within the Aral Sea Basin into the IS (GIS-layers and possibly periodic data).

4. Enhance informational scope and scale of the CAWater-Info Portal including an online platform of modeling tools

Extending experience and broadening cooperation in the EECCA regions (within activity related to developing of water management organizations network);

Maintaining the existing portal, including updating of the knowledge base and database, news posting, etc;

Developing new sections on the portal, which demonstrate the IS content and its analytical instruments.

5. Produce various informational products including digital publications (collection of materials, printing and transmission to partners, publishing on the web portal) and disseminate them among target user groups and other interested parties

Publication of popular thematic, graphic and cartographic information about the most urgent water and ecological problems in the region (including training of regional organizations how to prepare such information);

Publication of ICWC bulletins, EC IFAS bulletins, other periodicals of SIC ICWC, EC IFAS and other partner-organizations;

Publication of monographs, booklets, scientific articles etc. of partner-organizations`;

Digitization and publication of rare and ancient books, of maps etc. related to the Aral Sea Basin problem, which are in the partner-organizations' archival depositories via web-site;

Publication the existing material and preparing new material on water resources of Central Asia aiming to promote the portal and Information System in the global ISs (WaterWiki etc.);

Investigating needs of farmers, WUAs, agricultural producers in the information of IS and of the portal and possibilities for its delivery to users (agro-newsletters, satellite images etc.).

Data Flow Diagrams

Water User Characteristics and Data on Water Uses for Agriculture, Industry, Municipalities and Energy

Hydrological Data (surface water quantity data)

Socio Economical and Environmental Data or Information

Rainfall and Climatologic Data

Results of project