The regular meeting of the Regional Working Group on Water Quality (RWG-WQ) was held on 13 December 2022 in Tashkent in a hybrid format, bringing together local and international experts on water management and environmental protection from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Representatives of environmental agencies, line ministries, research institutes and hydrometeorological services of Central Asian countries, as well as international experts and partners participated in the meeting.
The aim of the meeting was to maintain a lively technical dialogue between experts from all five countries of the region on transboundary water quality issues. The countries continued exchanging news, experiences and best practices, and discussed opportunities for cooperation and capacity building through joint research and exchange visits.
At the beginning of the meeting, the participants heard the reports of the hydrometeorological services on the work done in surface water quality monitoring over the past year, then exchanged information on the ongoing projects and further plans for activities in the field of water body protection.
RWG-WQ members noted that a common unresolved problem of the region is the pollution of water bodies due to discharge of significant volumes of collector-drainage water from irrigated areas and ingress of dissolved salts into river systems. As the river flow decreases annually and fresh water replenishment is practically absent, water quality deteriorates leading to degradation of water bodies. The parties stressed that the issue of impact of collector-drainage water discharges on the condition of water bodies has not been sufficiently studied and requires joint study to develop comprehensive measures to reduce their impact. Experts from the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, the Global Australian Partnership, and the University of Lebanon were invited to the meeting to present the best practices in the treatment and reuse of agricultural wastewater. As a result of the meeting, recommendations of international experts on water quality assurance were adopted, and priority directions of the meeting for 2023 were agreed upon.