DUSHANBE – Tajik national experts were trained and learned from the European Union (EU) experience on water quality management as part of the EU’s tailor-made support to Central Asia (CA) on environmental project preparation. The training is organised by the EU-funded project WECOOP aims to assist Tajikistan in improving its water quality management capabilities.
Tajikistan has abundant fresh water resources with lakes containing 20 km3 of water resources and glaciers holding an additional 845 km3. Surface waters of the watershed area have good drinking quality and favourable hydrochemical composition. However, the middle course, and especially the lower reaches of rivers are significantly affected by runoff from irrigated areas, domestic sewerage systems and industry (http://www.cawater-info.net/pdf/abdushukurov-et-al1.pdf).
Tajikistan continues to have some of the poorest sanitary conditions in Central Asia. Drinking water in Tajikistan contains high levels of coliform bacteria and has low palatability. Coliforms are detected in water sources used both by rural households (58 percent) and by urban households (49 percent). The chemical quality of the drinking water also the area for improvement. Drinking water, particularly in rural areas, contains high concentrations of inorganic salts, organic matter, and traces of heavy metals. The availability and quality of water supply, sanitation and hygiene services outside the capital of Dushanbe remain poor. Access to safely managed water sources (those that are improved, available when needed, and free of faecal contamination) varies. While 57 percent of urban households have access to safely managed water, only 31 percent of rural households do (https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/27830).
The EU member states are obliged and intensively implement measures to prevent pollution of water sources. The set of EU Directives (Water Framework Directive, Drinking Water Directive, Urban Waste Water Directive, Bathing Water Directive, and several others related to them) stipulate binding quality targets for drinking water and protecting human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, as well as protecting the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water discharges and discharges from certain industrial sectors. The Directives have laid down the critical quality standards at the EU level. The following principles are set out in the Directives: planning, regulation (obligations of the Member States and the Commission), monitoring, information and reporting. The Directives also require providing regular information to consumers and reporting to the European Commission.
Mr Stefano Ellero, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation in Tajikistan: “Water quality is one of the priorities put on the national environmental agendas by Central Asian countries. Our aim is to inform the traineesabout the basic principles of water quality management in the European Union, including water sources used for drinking water supply as well as capacity building in the effective use of international experience in the framework of ongoing reforms in the sector.”
Since October 2018, about 200 national experts, representatives of NGOs and local private companies have already participated in 9 capacity building workshops in Almaty, Ashgabat, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Nur-Sultan and Tashkent and 1 study tour to Vienna, all organised by WECOOP with the financial support of the EU.