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Half of the Kyrgyz Villages Have Problems With Drinking Water Accessibility

More than 300 villages in Kyrgyzstan never had a water supply system, according to the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation. In another 600, there is no clean water due to the worn out water pipelines or the frozen works on the water pipe installation.


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Photo: CABAR.asia

Kaliya Zhorubaeva lives in the Dacha housing area in Ozgur village for more than 15 years. All these years, her family has to buy drinking water in the city and fill the water reservoir seven to eight times a year. Kaliya and 150 other families use the purchased water both for drinking and for irrigation.

Dacha housing area is located in the upper part of Ozgur village, 15-20 minutes’ drive from the city of Osh. Previously, it was designated as a land for private gardening, but in the early 2000s, the land was allocated for plots and in 2004, it was included in the city territory. Although the housing area was built 20 years ago, there is neither drinking nor irrigation water. Many do not want to move here because of these conditions.

Dolon Kalmatov. Photo: CABAR.asia

“Not talking about winter, we do not have water even in summer. We bring drinking water from the city. There is no irrigation water either. The land is idle: we can neither sow nor plant. We address with requests for the water supply, but, unfortunately, without any results,” says another village resident Dolon Kalmatov.

The head of the village Ularbek Uraimov tries to solve this problem addressing various departments for several years, but everything remains the same.

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Local residents found a way to get water from the spring: they drilled a well. However, since the volume of water here is small, not all  families manage to stock up on water. Photo: CABAR.asia

Recently, residents addressed the Osh Mayor’s Office again hoping that this issue would be resolved.

“It has been a week since the mayor of the city met with local residents and heard their problems. This year, it was decided to allocate 500 thousand soms ($6,525) from the budget for irrigation water supply in the Dacha housing area. As for drinking water, it is still unknown,” the spokesperson of the municipal administration Azamat Absattarov comments on the situation.

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A resident of Teeke village, where the water is supplied only for two hours a day. Photo: CABAR.asia 

Teeke village is also located within the city of Osh. There is clean water here, but due to the low pump pressure, it is supplied only for two hours a day. At the time the water is supplied, a long queue forms here. In a short time, 200 families try to fill all available containers. Not everyone succeeds.

“If we do not hurry, we have to wait for the next day. There is no other way. Sometimes we manage to stock up, sometimes the queue is too long,” says the village resident Ainura Arapbaeva.

Teeke and Ozgur villages are not the only settlements in Kyrgyzstan with problems with drinking water accessibility. According to the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, the water supply systems are not installed in more than 300 villages. Another 600 villages have no clean water due to the worn out water pipelines or frozen works on the water pipe installation.

Most of these villages are located in Jalal-Abad region; Osh region follows.

According to the Head of the unit of the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Shayirgul Orozbakieva, there is a plan for provision of all villages with drinking water until 2024: 

“There are more than 1,800 villages in Kyrgyzstan, and every year some of them are provided with clean drinking water. In 700 villages, pipelines were installed back in the 1970s, and are now in disrepair. First, we will supply those areas where there is absolutely no clean water,” says Orozbakieva.

Projects to provide access to drinking water are implemented at the expense of the republican budget, with assistance from the international organizations and Chinese grants, as well as at the expense of regional funds and local budgets.

Erkin Abdyrazakov. Photo: CABAR.asia

However, according to the economic analyst Erkin Abdyrazakov, despite numerous grants and funds, the problem of drinking water in the country is still not resolved.

“To supply rural areas with clean water, the performance of various works is required. For some reason, these works are stopped, and the situation remains unresolved. In some cases, despite the installation of a water supply system, after a while, the villages remain without water again,” he explains.

The representative of the public organization “Central Asian Alliance for Water” Zhyldyz Ysmanova explains such cases by the lack of control and interest from the local administrations to the problems of local residents.

“There are several reasons for the slow implementation of the water supply plan. This is the irresponsibility of the local authorities, which do not have information on the water supply systems in the region, and the insufficient level of comprehensive work, the lack of further control over the installed water supply systems,” Ysmanova notes.

According to her, there is no technical inventory of water supply systems in rural areas. Their installation, as a rule, is delegated to one enterprise, creating a monopoly. At the same time, there is no exact action plan, and contractors are negligent in their duties.

“The state pays more attention to the technical aspect of the population’s access to clean water, and the results are limited only by the fact of providing it. Therefore, before installing the water supply systems worth millions, it is necessary to appoint competent authorities for further control,” Ysmanova says.

The provision of the entire territory of the republic with drinking water until 2024 was one of the main pre-election promises of the current President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

The Head of State often repeats the promise. During meetings with residents of Balykchy town in 2019, and with residents of Issyk-Ata district of Chuy region in February 2020, the President announced that the drinking water supply systems were installed in 107 villages, as well as another 588 villages were included in the list. He promised that until the end of his presidential term there will be no area in the country without access to drinking water.

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