Water canals, reservoirs and making friends
Wetskills Kyrgyzstan – Day 2
October 16th, 2018
Early this morning, we got picked up by our dear host Mr. Kalybek from the National Water Resources Management Project (NWRMP) from the World Bank at our hostel 312 in Bishkek. Today on the agenda: exploring some of the major water canals, first meeting with a Kyrgyz Water Users Association (WUA) and getting a first grip on how river water is shared between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The picture below is showing an overview of women who have the most children, and therefore have a lot of hectares of agriculture land, since every person got a piece of land after the collapse of the Soviet era after 1991.
Our first stop was the West Big Chu Canal Water Intake Facility. From here the Chu river is divides into two branches, providing irrigation water to downstream regions. Some 48 % of the Chu river water is provided to downstream Kazakhstan. At the control room we saw how water is diverted automatically, depending on water levels in the system and downstream demands.
The second stop was at the UZUNKYR Water Users Association, where two representatives have been interviewed on how water in the tertiary canal is managed and divided among the water users.
It has been a cold day with snowfall. Winter has arrived, and temperatures could drop to -30 during winter. Thanks to our caterer, a lunch break with (very appreciated) hot tea was held on our way to the next stop, the Ala-Archa water reservoir.
The bus ride gave time to socialise. For some, it was an intense clash of cultures, certainly lots of laughing and communication. Friends were made. We ended the day in Bishkek’s city centre, where we visited the big Ala-Too Square with the statue of one of the most important heroes in Kyrgystan; Manas. The art gallery gave a impressing overview of the beautiful aspects of Kyrgyz culture, like horseriding and -games, eagle hunting (not for, but TO hunt), yurts and or course, Manas.
By Adrian Labonde & Beksultan Samagan Uulu