Opportunities for a unified water quality classification and expansion of the expert group: regular meeting of the Regional Working Group on Water Quality took place online
On 21 May the regular meeting of the Regional Working Group on Water Quality was held online. Experts from Central Asian countries presented the work done since the last meeting in June 2020. The RWG discussed the legislative and structural changes in water quality monitoring, provided analysis of monitoring data from the main basins of the region, and set the agenda for the next meetings.
The group consists of representatives from the hydrometeorological, environmental, sanitary services and water sectors of the Central Asian countries. In addition, as the members of the RWG suggested previously, healthcare professionals were included in the discussion, since water quality and health issues are closely interconnected. Also, for the first time, representatives from Afghanistan joined the meeting as observers.
The Regional Working Group was founded in 2009, and normally meets twice a year, but since the pandemic meetings have been held less frequently. The activities of the group are facilitated by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), as the Secretariat of the RWG, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
One of the positive news discussed during the meeting, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution declaring the Aral Sea region as a "zone of environmental innovation and technology". This document will help strengthen water cooperation in the region, attract investments in green innovations, which will have a positive impact on water quality issues.
The group's experts stressed the need to improve the performance of wastewater treatment plants and the expansion of monitoring systems. The experts continue discussing the possibility of introducing a unified water quality classification in the region: sharing information on indicators, water quality measurement procedures, equipment and so on.
In addition, the participants discussed possible joint participation in international seminars and conferences, as well as joint preparation of applications for regional water quality studies.
The next meetings are planned for autumn 2021 and spring 2022, if possible, the meetings of the RWG on water quality will be held off-line. The Secretariat of the working group also stressed that it will continue to expand its membership by responding to the RWG requests to address all water quality-related challenges in an integrated manner.