The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping to improve the efficiency of irrigation in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan, the most densely populated part of Central Asia. The EBRD funds will finance necessary engineering works in three Uzbek oblasts that are heavily reliant on freshwater withdrawals from the Syr Darya river, which is largely fed by glacial melts affected by global warming.
An EBRD sovereign loan of up to US$ 199.96 million to the Republic of Uzbekistan will help modernize 118 obsolete pumping stations built in the Soviet era across the Uzbek part of the Fergana Valley. It will be used to acquire and install modern, energy-efficient pumping units and to refurbish associated infrastructure.
The project will boost the efficiency of the regional irrigation water conveyancing system, which is important to a region dependent on irrigated agriculture and known for relatively low levels of rainfall throughout the year. The replacement of old water pumps with modern equipment will ensure better control over the flow of water and reduce losses. The upgrade is expected to make an immediate environmental impact by decreasing annual electricity consumption by 277,000 MWh and reducing annual CO2 emissions by 129,000 tonnes.
EBRD Managing Director for Central Asia Zsuzsanna Hargitai said: “At the EBRD, we help change people’s lives. By supporting such green projects, we not only improve the efficiency of water uses vital to this region but also help increase the irrigated area by almost 32,000 hectares, potentially creating jobs for around 19,000 people in Uzbekistan’s most populous region.”
Uzbekistan has developed a strategic vision for the sustainable use of water through a number of strategies, such as the Water Management Sector Development Concept for 2020-30, which is aligned with the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
To date, the EBRD has invested almost €3.71 billion in 121 projects across Uzbekistan.