Water Accounting and Accountability in the Chu-Talas River Basins [Central Asia]

Effective, judicious and sustainable water resources management and planning require sufficient amounts of data for proper decision-making and capacities to manage, analyze, share and communicate these data within a proper institutional context at different scales, from local to transboundary levels. Usually, data transparency helps in trust and confidence building between different resource uses and users, also and especially at interstate levels. For this, water information systems have become state-of-the-art in integrated water resources management and are normally regarded as indispensable tools for proper resource management, including for accounting and accountability. To date, no such modern system exists in Central Asia.

A modern, multi-level distributed water information system (WIS) consists of a set of interlinked measurement and control, management, synthesis and analysis components that provide a stakeholders’ gateway for effective water resources management and planning while considering and respecting legal and agency frameworks. It also provides general information portals for a larger public. WIS can be deployed and interlinked for any domain in the water sector, including water resources management, irrigation, water quality, etc. Ideally, they require on the multi-level availability of digital data, from local to transboundary scales.

The importance of such modern and automated systems cannot be overstated in places like Central Asia where complex allocation tradeoffs exist in the region at all levels between different uses and users.  The relevance of such a distributed information system is well recognized by the Interstate Commission for transboundary Chu and Talas river basins and therefore the Commission strongly supports this area of intervention. Together with local and international partners, hydrosolutions ltd. continues to lead the effort to modernize the existing WIS in the transboundary catchment. 

The Figure below shows the fully and/or partially accomplished / modernized components (green color) as well as proposed future elements (blue/orange color) of a complete WIS for the Chu and Talas river basins. The proposed action is based on a global assessment of the current state of the WIS in the basins. The proposed WIS vision and its design and components can also serve as a blueprint for further up- and outscaling in the region.

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