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Oberkircher, Lisa
Tischbein, Bernhard
Hornidge, Anna-Katharina
Schorcht, Gunther
Bhaduri, Anik
Awan, Usman K.
Manschadi, Ahmad M.
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
ZEF Working Paper Series 54
Khorezm region is located in the northwest of Uzbekistan, approximately 350 km from the current shore of the Aral Sea. It comprises a large-scale irrigation system which conveys water from the river Amudarya to agricultural land cropped mainly with cotton, wheat, and rice. Khorezm's water resources are vulnerable because they depend on upstream developments and are indispensable for rural livelihoods and state budgets. Since water scarcity is expected to increase in the future, sustainable water management is a necessity. Hence the objectives of the paper are to (1) conceptualise the distinctive features of water management in Khorezm, (2) provide an integrated analysis of water management by establishing linkages between society, technical infrastructure, and the bio-physical environment, and (3) make policy and technology recommendations for improved water management. To conceptualise water management in Khorezm, the paper distinguishes three types of practices: formal practices, strategic practices, and discursive practices. Based on these, it presents an analysis of water management on the state water management level, the water user association level, and the farmer and field level. For each level, recommendations are given. The paper concludes that elements of IWRM such as transparency, accountability, participation, and technical efficiency are relevant to improve water management in Khorezm as elsewhere. In addition, it suggests for Khorezm in particular, to create legal space for agency and innovation. Technical tools such as models acquire additional importance in this context for facilitating transparency and enabling agents across the management hierarchy to access and make use of information.
Irrigation water management
interdisciplinary research
social construction
Central Asia
Document Type: 
Working Paper
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