Every Drop Matters focused on improving agricultural efficiency within Uzbekistan.

Roughly one-fifth of the rural population of Uzbekistan lack access to clean water, and in the Zarafshan River Basin region an even larger proportion of the population live without these basic services. Improving access to clean, safe drinking water in rural Uzbekistan is a critical but complex challenge. Many water supply companies in the basin have largely failed, due to ill-defined legal status, poor management, and lack of infrastructure maintenance.

Most small rural villages lack capacity and resources to design and implement their own systems. EDM worked in the region to develop and demonstrate models to enable community water stewardship and improved drinking water and sanitation systems.

In its first phase, 18 community leaders, including 8 women, were trained in resource mobilization, public-private partnership development and gender-sensitive rural water and sanitation management. This led to the application of new community led approaches to assess and prioritize social needs as a basis for the development of action plans to build community water supply systems. A first action taken included the mobilization of resources to improve pipe lining and install street taps.

Building upon this progress, the second phase of the project expanded and applied local solutions while building capacity in the full spectrum of relevant stakeholders in the Samarkand and Navoi region of Uzbekistan. This included community water user groups, local authorities, regional drinking water management bodies and national policy makers responsible for the implementation of the ‘2020 State Strategy for Safe Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation and Hygiene’.

In 2013, the project provided hand-washing facilities in three rural schools, improving access to hygiene facilities for 1,200 school children and demonstrated technologies to provide 3,000 residents with safe drinking water. The project model was scaled up in an additional 25 communities in the Samarkand and Navoi region as part of the State General Plan for providing rural water supply systems in rural communities. Local authorities and institutions responsible for water and education management, have been encouraged to scale up the projects results throughout the Zarafshan River Basin.


  • Trained 18 community leaders, including 8 women in resource mobilization, public- private partnership development and gender-sensitive rural water and sanitation management.
  • Access to hygiene facilities and education activities have decreased the risks related to hygiene related illnesses for 1,200 rural children
  • Demonstrated different technologies in rural communities, successfully providing 3,000 residents with safe drinking water in pilot areas
  • Developed an implementation plan for scaling up the project in an additional 25 villages, with detailed designs created for five selected communities
  • Directly contributed to the implementation strategy of the State General Plan for providing rural water supply systems in rural communities for the Samarkand and Navoi region
  • Developed guidelines for communities on rural water supply system administration to improve development, oversight and compliance with local authorities
  • Provided guidance to relevant government departments on regulations for construction methods, planning and materials used in rural water supply systems
  • Contributed directly to the ‘2020 State strategy for safe drinking water supply and sanitation and hygiene’
  • Produced educational materials and hands-on training on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion for teachers, community leaders and regional drinking water authorities

Project detail

Title: Community water stewardship to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in the Zarafshan River Basin (phase 1)” and “From pilot to implementation: Rural water supply management and sanitation-hygiene practices in schools (phase 2)
Implementing agency: UNDP Uzbekistan
Location: Pastdargom District, Samarkand, and Navoi Regions, Zarafshan River Basin
Budget phase 1: 96,337 USD (EDM: 74,970 / Co-financing: 20,467)
Budget phase 2: 193,520 USD (EDM: 74,998 / Co-financing: 118,722)
Implementation period: 2011-2013

Agricultural production in the Karmana district, Navoi region, is limited by water scarcity, polluted and salinity. Modern irrigation practices could expand the potential to expand capacity to grow high value crops and sustain local development.

The EDM project aimed to improve agronomic practices through the demonstration of modern technologies and crop management systems to increase water and land use efficiency. Laser land levelling, drip irrigation and improved furrow irrigation piloted on five farms achieved an estimated water saving of 47,500 m3, which represents a significant potential saving if scaled up to be implemented by the larger local agricultural community.

A set of 31 water metering hydroposts were also installed within the pilot region to help improve the monitoring and equity of water distribution. Expanding upon the results and learning achieved through the pilot activities a series three manuals were prepared on water metering within WUAs and on farms; water use planning; and the application of new technology and techniques that were provided to the national government together with a strategy note and action plan for implementation.


  • Five farms throughout Karnmana district were selected to pilot activities within the project. On these farms, laser land levelling, drip irrigation and improved furrow irrigation were demonstrated
  • Trained water management specialists from Samarkand, Navoi, Jizzak and Bukhara regions on the adaptation of new technologies to local settings
  • Demonstrate an estimated water saving of approximately 47,500 m3
  • Trained 130 famers, WUA association staff, water and agricultural specialists on applications of advanced agricultural technologies
  • Enabled farmers to improve crop productivity, increasing cotton production by one ton per hectare in the pilot zone during the demonstration period

Project detail

Title: Water use efficiency in agriculture and water saving technologies at the farm level
Implementation period: 2014-2015
Implementing agency: UNDP Uzbekistan
Location: Krmana district, Navoi Region
Budget: 183,076 USD (EDM: 100,000 / Co-financing: 83,076)

Water irrigation systems in Zarafshan River Basin region are inefficient, with water losses reaching as high as 50%. Solutions are hamstrung by water user associations that lack sufficient financing to maintain or upgrade existing infrastructure. This is partially due to the absence of water metering, which make fee collection and water monitoring ineffective.

The EDM project worked to improve water monitoring, distribution and irrigation systems in Pastdargom district, Samarkand oblast to demonstrate model solutions that could be applied throughout the region. It created monitoring and distribution systems to oversee water distribution at the farm level, increase distribution equity and provided training to Water User Associations (WAU) to operate them.

More work was done to demonstrate different irrigation systems and identify systems that are best suited to local conditions and specific applications. As well as the clear value demonstrated by the piloted systems, the new resource center and water monitoring software is helping to reduce conflicts between water users. The resource center serves as a meeting point for farmers and the WUA to discuss and solve local water resource problems.


  • Performed extensive analysis of local conditions, including assessment of on-farm irrigation systems, water supply and demand each farm, field surveys of local land use, and the collection of historical data
  • Created monitoring and distribution systems to oversee water distribution at the farm level, increase distribution equity and provided training to WAU to operate them
  • Constructed a 250 meter distribution canal and installed three hydroposts in pilot zone for modern farming systems to accurately monitor water distribution
  • Piloted furrow irrigation systems for wheat and cotton, achieving an annual water saving of 50,000 m3 over a 35 hectare plot
  • Installed drip irrigation for orchard fruits and vegetables, achieving a water saving of 8,488 m3
  • Implemented laser levelling of land in three farms, saving 95,000 m3 over 67 hectares of land
  • Created a resource center to educate and advise farmers on water efficiency and provide a forum for the Water User Association to discuss and solve local water resource problems

Project detail

Title: WUA and on-farm water use efficiency increase at the climate change
Implementation period: 2013-2014
Implementing agency: Scientific Research Institute of Irrigation and Water Problems
Location: Pastdargom District of Samarkand oblast
Budget: 108,347 USD (EDM: 79,208 / Co-financing: 29,139)

Partners and contributors

  • UNDP Uzbekistan
  • Scientific Research Institute of Irrigation and Water Problems
  • Navoi Hokimiyat
  • Samarkand Hokimiyat
  • Savoltepa Ravnaki Local Farmers
  • Karmana ISA
  • Pastdargom DT Khokimiyat