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Ensuring the WEF security through advancing the energy efficiency at pumping stations and digitalization of the metering in the Republic of Tajikistan

Over 90% of Tajikistan’s territory is occupied by mountains, which requires mechanically lifting water from rivers and canals to irrigate farmland. Hence, the country relies heavily on pumping stations to secure water generation for its population and agriculture, one of Tajikistan’s main economic sectors.

Agricultural activities are major consumers of natural resources, corresponding to 90% of available water and 10% of the total electricity supply in the country. Tajikistan’s pumping stations are around 40 to 50 years old and highly energy intensive, which significantly harness farmers’ water supply and energy security, without diligent service provided to the farmers.

Considering water and energy interlinkages, electricity tariffs have risen since 2011, and electricity bills outpaces the fees received from water users. The difference between the bill and collected amount is charged by Barki Tojik as a debt to the Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation (ALRI). Debts for used electricity have been accumulated for the first quarter of 2022, although back in 2014 and 2018 the Government has written off part of the electricity bills debts. Moreover, the high segregation of the dekhans households into smaller ones makes the sector unattractive for investment, additionally threatening the country’s energy and food security.

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“The deterioration of irrigation infrastructure is a very urgent problem in Tajikistan. With the expected population growth and the need for rational use of natural resources, it is necessary to introduce energy-efficient equipment and continue to improve public management mechanisms”.

— Shafoat Nazifov, Head of the Basin Reclamation and Irrigation Department of the Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.
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Ensuring the sustainable operation of Tajikistan’s pumping stations

The Sughd Region plays a leading role in Tajikistan’s economy, particularly with respect to its agricultural sector, a vital contributor to the country’s GDP. Consequently, the region corresponds to about 80% of the country’s total energy consumption for irrigation purposes, being heavily dependent on pumped irrigation.

As the agricultural sector is highly dependent upon water supply, the absence of timely action leads to an annual decrease of agricultural output, putting the energy and food security of the country at risk. In addition, the high segregation of dekhan households into smaller houses make the sector less attractive to potential investors.

To respond to these challenges and ensure proper electricity consumption, ALRI is considering introducing power metering and energy-efficient technologies at a pumping stations in the Sughd Region, envisioning a nation-wide replication. To this end, the most energy-consuming pumping stations in the Sughd Region were selected for the priority implementation of pilot electricity control and monitoring systems.

Innovative solutions for securing Water, Energy and Food Security in Tajikistan

The demonstration project was proposed by ALRI under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan (MEWR). It was officially launched in July 2021 under the European Union’s “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue Project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment”. It further counted with the support of the project "Laboratory of Innovative Solutions for the Water Sector of Central Asia" implemented within the framework of the CAWEP World Bank’s TF.

The main objectives are to ensure Water-Energy-Food (WEF) security by improving the electricity consumption control and monitoring systems at pumping stations in the Sughd Region. It also aims at developing technical and investment proposals for upgrading the Golodnostep pumping stations 1 and 2 (Zafarabad District) based on energy-efficient technologies.

While the institutional side on the pumping stations’ operation is cornerstone, the project covered the technical side as an entry point. It has done so by showcasing the savings and investment potential on metering the electricity consumption and monitoring systems and modernizing the Golodnostep pumping stations 1 and 2.


We are excited to drive the institutionalisation of the WEF Nexus approach in Central Asia to support ongoing reforms and contribute to better access to ‘impactful investing’ for the countries of our region.

— Zafar Makhmudov, Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia.
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The Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach focuses on negotiating trade-offs, inspiring compromises and uncovering synergies to ensure water, energy and food security in the long run. It further promotes policy coherence and cooperation between all three sectors at the regional, local, and global level, and assesses alternative resource management, technology, and governance options to promote efficiency in the use of natural resources.

The Central-Asia Nexus Dialogue project, ‘Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment’ is implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC). It is part of the global Nexus Regional Dialogues programme, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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Adopting a WEF Nexus approach in Tajikistan

The WEF Nexus approach aims at ensuring inclusive water, energy and food security on the path to a climate resilient and resource efficient future for all. It contributes to a better understanding of the interconnectedness between these vital resources, as well as their planning, management, and consumption. It further promotes policy coherence and cooperation between the three sectors at the regional, local, and global level, through negotiation of trade-offs and inspiration of compromises among different actors.

The adoption of such integrated approach has a large potential to improve efficiency in Tajikistan’s water and energy sectors. Higher efficiency means lower water and electricity tariffs, which reflects in lower agricultural production costs, thus contributing to decreasing food prices and increase the population’s purchasing power. This results in an overall welfare improvement in different areas. Environmentally, by saving natural resources; economically, by saving income and increasing purchasing power; nationally, by securing WEF security in the long run.

The demonstration project: technical considerations and achieved outcomes.

To achieve the project’s objectives, five national specialists executed the following tasks:

  1. Analytical review of pumping stations’ operation modalities;
  2. Technical examination of metering at 173 pumping stations in Sughd Province 1 and 2, design of the concept of digitalizing electricity consumption metering, and marking of all inspected stations in a GPS map, to facilitate reaching them in the future;
  3. Energy and water audits at 2 pumping stations by the Grundfos (international pump manufacturer), estimating that the electricity savings can reach up to 37-40% with the existing water supply if the pumps are replaced for new and more efficient ones;
  4. Investment proposals for digitalizing electricity consumption metering and upgrading the Golodnostep pumping stations 1 and 2 based on energy-efficient technologies.

With that, the experts developed valuable recommendations to advance the efficient use of energy and water resources at the pumping stations in Sughd Province. Further details on the technical aspects can be found in the reports listed in the more information section below.

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Irrigated agriculture is a vital element of our national economy. By applying the WEF Nexus approach, we make our economy more sustainable. This will help us achieve our strategic goals, including food and energy security, rural employment, and accelerated industrialization of the country.

— - Mr Bakhrom Gaforzoda, Secretary of the National Commission of Irrigation and Drainage under the Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.


Demonstration project in Tajikistan to support the water, energy and food security

(The video is also available directly on YouTube via this link.)

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A promising project for irrigational infrastructure improvement and long run WEF security in Tajikistan

After eight months of intensive work, the demonstration project marks its completion with valuable deliverables to support the Government’s efforts on ensuring WEF security in Tajikistan. The comprehensive pumping stations analysis and investment proposals resulted on important recommendations to advance the efficient use of energy and water resources in Sughd Province. These achievements have high replication capabilities, and thus a large potential to improve the irrigational infrastructure and the quality of WEF services delivered to the country’s overall population.

The results are being presented by ALRI and MEWR to technical platforms, in order to voice the existing challenges in the irrigational sector and seek investment and technical solutions for further replication. The resource efficiency improvement resulting from such investments has a promising potential to decrease water and energy tariffs, increase agricultural output and combat environmental degradation. This constitutes an important step towards ensuring Tajikistan’s WEF security in the long run.

Further Information

Please find more information about the demonstration project in Russian language in Factsheet 1, Factsheet 2, and Factsheet 3. Additionally, please go through this report in English.

  • Nexus News: The European Union supports Tajikistan in finding innovative solutions to ensure WEF security

    Find more information about the project’s news here.

  • The Nexus Demonstration Projects in Central Asia

    Find all information about the demonstration projects under the ‘Central Asia Nexus Dialogue Project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment’ here.

  • The Nexus Training Material

    The WEF Nexus training material contributes to an increased application of the WEF Nexus approach in planning, policymaking and implementation. Find more information here.

  • The Nexus Newsletter

    The Nexus Newsletter brings updates on the activities, achievements and the latest news about the WEF Nexus. Learn more on how we support the Nexus implementation around the world here.

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