Project Manager

Project Manager

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Project: UNDP/GEF/SCWM “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Sustainable Water Management in Turkmenistan” (EERE)

From cities to remote desert, across the nation’s entire territory, water management plays a defining role in all aspects of life in Turkmenistan.  Water management encompasses a wide range of natural and human-managed features, including rivers, other water sources, dams, 15 reservoirs, irrigation networks, interdistrict and interfarm canals, drainage collectors, and a far-flung complex of built structures for diverting and pumping water. 

Water resources of Turkmenistan come mostly from four transboundary rivers – the Amu-Darya, the Murghab, the Tejen, and the Atrek – with volumes based on shares negotiated with other countries through which these waterways pass.  The Amu-Darya, which is Central Asia’s longest river, provides about 88 percent of Turkmenistan’s water for human use. Water is distributed throughout Turkmenistan via networks of canals, extending over 42,500 km, as well as a collector-drainage network over 35,000 km.  The longest among these is the Karakum Canal (known also in the country as the Karakum River), which extends over more than 1300 km across almost all of Turkmenistan’s length and nearly reaching the Caspian Sea.

Management of water resources of Turkmenistan is implemented in three administrative tiers. The State Committee for Water Management of Turkmenistan (SCWM) oversees water management across the country.  The Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection (MAEP) is responsible for implementing state policy in protection and rational use of natural resources, also at the national level.  Both Agencies operate under the general authority granted to them by the Constitution and the national Water Codex and Land Codex, as overseen by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. 

Water management in Turkmenistan is centrally planned and implemented by the Government via SCWM, largely in isolation from market dynamics. SCWM owns essentially all water management infrastructure from canals to pumps, from the source all the way to the farmer or other end user.  The state budget is the source for all investment funds for new and upgraded infrastructure.  Water is supplied within approved limits free of charge to both agricultural and residential consumers as a benefit contributing to overall social welfare. There are therefore essentially no financial incentives for end users to conserve water within their approved quotas.

The current water management system of Turkmenistan serves its essential purpose of supplying water to end users. But Turkmen officials and scientists note deficiencies.  Distribution of water is inequitable over the hydrographic network, with shortages at the ends of canals in water-stressed years. Both within watersheds and in parts of the system that interconnect among various sources, disagreements emerge about management solutions for lack of a sufficiently clear and rational legal framework.  Deficiencies in the legal and policy framework also lead to gaps among various levels of government agencies and resource management water users.  Greater clarification and integration are needed. 

Moving billions of cubic meters of water over thousands of kilometers requires vast inputs of energy.  Turkmenistan’s networks of canals and drainage collectors, as well as its wells, are served by approximately 3500 pumping stations with a total installed electric power capacity in excess of 250 MW. Most of this powered infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and has not been replaced. Due to its sheer size, but also inefficiencies resulting from age, insufficient maintenance, and other factors water management is the second largest power-consuming sector in Turkmenistan, accounting for about 25 percent of total power consumption.

In addition, in remote areas not connected to the electric grid, especially in the Dashoguz velayat, diesel fuel is used to run approximately 1179 pumps.  This equipment varies widely in water-pumping capacity and energy consumption rates, with most consuming about 14 liters of diesel fuel per hour of operation.  Based on a conservative estimate of 700 hours of operation per year per pump, the project team estimates that diesel-powered water pumps in Turkmenistan collectively consume about 15 million liters of fuel per year.

There are three major ways to raise energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and curtail associated GHG emissions from the water management sector.  The first is to reduce water losses and consumption, thereby reducing pumping volumes and pumping energy consumption throughout the system.  The second is to increase the efficiency of pumps and other energy-using infrastructure.  The third is to replace pumps and other infrastructure with more efficient or renewable technology.  The UNDP/GEF project pursues all three of these paths.

For more detailed information about this project as well as other UNDP Turkmenistan environmental projects please visit:

Location: Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan
Organization: UNDP
Deadline: November 16, 2020
External website link: