Water, infrastructure and climate change

The Swiss focus on Water, Infrastructure and Climate Change (WICC) builds on past interventions in Uzbekistan and the region to support sustainable and equitable management of (sub-) river basins at regional and transboundary levels. With realistic ambitions, the work in this domain is carried out coherently at local, national and regional levels through multi-track diplomacy to encourage decision-makers to pursue necessary reforms. Improvement of water governance at the sub-basin level will provide the building blocks to achieve more robust Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the country and across borders and to improve access to safely managed drinking water. Finally, the special focus on WICC aims to increase the resilience of rural and urban communities, to enhance their ability to manage the impact of climate change, and to improve access to affordable and reliable public infrastructure services.

Seminar in the field
Seminar in the field for the National Water Resources Management Project © SDC

Switzerland's engagement

Switzerland has been supporting the water sector of Uzbekistan since 2001. The WICC Programme has been strengthening water resources management at national, basin and canal system as well as on-farm level, to increase water and food security and to reduce water-related disaster risks in order to improve living and health conditions of Uzbek population by ensuring equal and sustainable access to water for food and water for life.

National reforms and regional cooperation

Switzerland is actively involved in a policy dialogue with the Uzbek government on reforms in the water sector, aiming at strengthening the legal framework for IWRM-based water sector reforms, and implementation of its key elements (data management, institutional strengthening, and rational water use promotion).

Switzerland also promotes a regional approach combining cross-border hydro-diplomacy with actions at national and local levels to promote joint and equitable management of river basins to tackle water, energy and food-related challenges in Central Asia by building a sense of common responsibility. The application of IWRM principles are applied here as well.

Infrastructure, urban and rural drinking water supply and sanitation

Switzerland has been providing sustained access to safe drinking water and sanitation services and improves hygiene behavior for a healthier population. SECO has a long record of operations in water supply and sanitation projects in Uzbekistan and has closely worked together in the past 20 years with the Uzbek partners at both national and local levels, particularly with the water utilities in the specific regions. The rural water supply model that was developed and demonstrated in the Fergana Valley now is being scaled up horizontally by the government of Uzbekistan within the state programmes. Ongoing urban water supply projects aim to enhance sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation services.

Water management

Switzerland has supported water stakeholders and governments to promote integrated and equitable water management during the last two decades at all levels. SDC is making efforts through its water programme on the introduction of IWRM principles, including the development of the comprehensive strategic and regulatory framework, promoting water-saving technologies, digitalization of the water sector. In rural areas, local communities are being encouraged to set up water users associations – legal entities which are in charge of operating and maintaining the water supply systems.

Swiss achievements in the water sector

The Swiss Cooperation supported the water sector reform focusing on the adoption of two key strategic frameworks: the Water Sector Development Concept for 2020-2030, along with a road map for its implementation in 2020-2022; and the Water Resources Management and Irrigation Sector Development Strategy 2021-2023, aimed at developing an efficient and sustainable water sector, based on IWRM principles, to achieve food and water security through protection and rational use of water. For better data management, the Information Analytical Resource Centre was established within the Ministry of Water Resources.