Water Use Permits in Kyrgyzstan (WUP KG)

Excessive water use leads to the depletion and pollution of this vital resource. In a significant paradigm shift, the Kyrgyz authorities are planning to enhance the protection of water resources by promoting a rational use through strong regulatory functions. Switzerland is partnering with the Kyrgyz authorities in the establishment and the institutionalization of such functions, by supporting the introduction of a water use permitting system that will enable a proper supervision of quantity and quality parameters.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water sector policy
Water resources conservation
01.09.2022 - 30.06.2028
CHF  3’000’000
Background Water scarcity is a major issue in Kyrgyzstan and it is exacerbated by inefficient use, growing populations and climate change. The country cannot afford this for much longer; it is vital to establish a comprehensive, strongly regulated water governance system. A functioning water use permits system is a key instrument for regulating the (rational) water use. Up to now, water resources were often seen through the prism of consumption only, which is at best incomplete and at worst counterproductive. In simple terms: anyone could use as much water as they wanted, uncontrolled. Without a functioning permits system, there can be no sustainable progress. The WUP will support the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology & Technical Supervision (MinNature) in their efforts to strengthen the water use permit system (surface, ground and pollution). As a result, water authorities will be able to establish binding standards and norms and ensure that users are in compliance therewith (for both water quantity and quality).
Objectives Environmentally sustainable & rational use of water resources in the Kyrgyz Republic, enabled by strong regulatory functions.  
Target groups
  • Cluster water users (irrigation, drinking water, business, industry)
  • Basin authorities
  • Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision (MinNature)
Medium-term outcomes
  1. An effective and novel water resource accounting and planning system is operational throughout the country.
  2. An effective and novel system for water use permitting and pricing is operational throughout the country.
  3. The knowledge on sustainable water use through enhanced data management and active engagement of stakeholders is broadly advanced.

Expected results:  

1.1: The pilot river basin management plan (RBMP) is reviewed and updated, and the national strategy for upscaling to other basins is developed.

1.2: A local quantitative management plan (QMP) is developed at sub-basin scale and water-saving objectives and related priority actions are defined.

2.1: Processes, procedures, and tools for effective water permitting and pricing are introduced.

2.2: The legislation on water pricing is improved and institutional capacities are reinforced.

3.1: Capacities of beneficiary institutions and local experts are built and strengthened, relevant stakeholders are closely involved and informed.

3.2: Relevant data is managed, valorized and shared.

Results from previous phases:  

The Inception Phase: 

  • Confirmed the relevance of the project
  • Concluded that knowing the volume of natural water resources is key to regulating its use
  • Found that existing draft basin plans have substantial potential for improvements
  • Proposes that basin plans and sub-basins plans will serve as basis for introducing permits system

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Project Agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision (MinNature) of the Kyrgyz Republic and Switzerland; Mandate agreement for project implementation with the International Office for Water (IOW) in France

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • SDC National Water Resources Mgmt. (NWRM) for Water Information system
  • SDC reg. project on support to hydromets for local quantitative management plan pilots at sub-basin scale
  • EU budget support (key water sect reform indicators conditioned to disbursements)
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    146’716 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    3’000’000 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   150’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   3’000’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.09.2022 - 30.06.2028   (Current phase)