by Tatyana Isaeva, US Embassy Tashkent







Uzbekistan is the third largest in population (about 25 million people) and  fourth largest in land area (447,000 square kilometers) of the Commonwealth of  Independent States (CIS). Located in Central Asia at the crossroads of the  ancient Silk Road between China and Europe, the region that is now Uzbekistan  was one of the cradles of world civilization for centuries.

Uzbekistan is rich in natural resources such as coal, copper, gold, natural gas, oil, silver, and uranium.

Despite the difficult terrain (60 percent is desert, steppe, or semi-arid land and only 10 percent is cultivated), agriculture accounts for about 25 percent of GDP and employs about 40 percent of the labor force. In this context, the heavy use of agro-chemicals, the diversion for irrigation of huge amounts of water from the two rivers that feed the region (Amu Darya and Syr Darya), and poor drainage systems have caused enormous health and environmental problems in recent years, exemplified by the Aral Sea disaster.


Market trends
This sector obtains the information on the most pressing environmental key problem in Uzbekistan, which are water supply/distribution systems, filtration and quality maintenance/monitoring.

Only 27% of the territory of Uzbekistan (120,000 square km with a population of 11 million people) meet national environmental standards for the quality of ambient air, water and soil. There are environmental problems in every district of the country, but the areas with the greatest environmental concerns are usually localized. The Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khoresm region, Fergana region, and Navoi region are examples of areas experiencing the most significant pressures on the environment and natural resource base. The key environmental problems in Uzbekistan are:
- an insufficient supply of safe drinking water;
- the scarcity and pollution of water resources;
- land salting and swamping of the land;
- air pollution in the largest cities and industrial
centers; the accumulation of solid wastes;
- the contamination of food products;

The main regulation act "On Water and Water Use" (May 1993) consists of 20 chapters and 119 Articles. The State of Uzbekistan owns all water resources. The regulatory bodies are the Cabinet of Ministers, local authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy, the State Geology Committee, the State Committee for Nature Protection, the Ministry of Health, the State Mining and Technological Supervision Committee, and the Main Hydro-Meteorological Committee. Water use is classified by the following:
- For general and special purposes, special water use is allowed through permits issued by special authorities with the help of special structures and technical facilities;
- By a source in use;
- Multipurpose use, i.e. that one water source is provided for use by several users;
- An independent water use;
- Primary and secondary water use, i.e. a permit for a secondary water use is issued to the primary water users;
- Other than industrial or agricultural use, i.e. for drinking, domestic, or other needs such as agricultural.

The State Committee issues permits allowing special water use for Nature Protection through application to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy, and the State Mining and Technological Supervision Committee together with the State Geological Committee. Water use is limited; i.e. the maximum water intake is limited by administrative and territorial principles; water resource basins; and water users in accordance with the Cabinet of Minister's Provisional Procedure on Limited Water Use No. 385 (August 3, 1993).

All water is subject to protection from pollution, contamination and depletion, which may damage human health, deplete fish stocks, or lead to other unfavorable conditions due to a change in the water's physical, chemical and biological properties.

Statistical data

The end of 20th century and the beginning of 21st has seen serious drought in Central Asia and adjoining regions. The water problem has never been so acute in the post-independent history of the Central Asian states. The ecological situation in the Aral Sea Basin is disastrous; only one third of the Aral Sea’s surface remains. Economic hardships in the region do not allow governments to deal properly with these issues: none of the five Central Asian states has achieved the production level of 1990. Agricultural production is low. For example, Uzbekistan produced only 3 million tons of raw cotton in 2000, compared to 4-5 million tons in previous years.

This is not an unique problem. The distribution of water among upstream and downstream countries has always been a thorny issue. Central Asian history also has experienced serious water clashes. Sources show that Samarkand and Bukhara fought a war over Zarafshan River. Generally speaking, upstream countries tend to capitalize on their advantageous geographic location.

Potential reasons for the water shortage

Global warming is an international problem. It concerns industrially developed and developing countries, as well as transitional economies. The economic analysis of 40 projects with the total potential to reduce the emission into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases by 19m tons, calculated in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalent, was being carried out as part of the second stage of the project "Uzbekistan: case study in terms of climate change". Almost half of this amount is counted for by the projects in the public utilities sector. The implementation of projects in the oil and gas, electricity and cement production industries will greatly contribute to the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases.

It has already been recorded that air temperature has risen significantly, the climate is becoming increasingly dry, there is a considerable change in the length of the hot and cold seasons of the year, and a trend towards a fall in the productivity of agricultural crops and in the size of pasture areas is being observed. The after-effect of the climate change has exacerbated the existing soil depletion and water shortage problems.

Government policy

Deputy Prime ministers of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan have signed an agreement on the rational use of regional water and energy resources. This agreement defined the volume and parameters of water supply and other conditions connected with the introduction of water supply monitoring.

The fourth session of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation was held in Bishkek July 26, 2001. The Kyrgyz side brought up issues relating to international transportation, joint extraction of coal from Kyrgyz coal mines, the possibility of Uzbekistan investing in the building of a railway line between Balykchy [on the northern shore of Lake Issyk Kul], Kochkor and Kara-Keche [in northern Naryn Region], cooperation between the two countries customs agencies, cooperation in the field of ecology and a number of other questions.

Best sales prospects

In conformity with environmental review procedure, Uzbekistan has the water projects, which supposed to be realized through International Finance Institution’s loans. These projects are expected to help stimulate a growing market over the next few years. As a result of realizing of these projects, the market of Uzbekistan is currently on the stage to develop wastewater facilities.

There are 14 projects, which aimed for the procurement and installation of the up-to-date water management units in local cities and desert areas. The projects are sponsored by the Government of Uzbekistan, World bank, EBRD, Natexis Bank (France) and the budget is ranged from $1 up to $60 millions dollars.


Domestic Suppliers

Construction of a new channel in Yazyavon District of Fergana Region in Uzbekistan completed on the eve of country's 10th year Independence anniversary will now supply several regions with water, which have been hardest hit with water shortages. The five kilometers long channel has a capacity of 20 cubic meters of water flow per second. The channel stretches from Boykovul village and allows the water flow into Fergana Channel.

The building of an Akhchabsoy water reservoir with a capacity of over 7m cubic meters flows into the Qoshrabot District in central Samarkand Region. Once the reservoir is built, new gardens will appear in place of the Qoshrabot deserts.

Foreign Suppliers

In 1993 Uzbekistan has signed the UN frame convention about change of climate, and in November of 1998 Uzbekistan joined the Kyoto International Protocol that has been ratified in August of 1999. Under the supervision of Global Ecological Foundation (GEF) the project "Uzbekistan- country study on climate change" was accomplished and was presented "The First National Report on Climate Change". This report includes the description of national preconditions, number of greenhouse gases, forecast of emissions of greenhouse gases until 2010 year; and a common description of accepted measures etc.

GEF sponsored a number of Aral Sea projects, beginning in 1990 for the total amount of 1.6 million US Dollars. Another six projects are in the realization stage and they will cost more than 3.0 million US Dollars.

In May 2001 the opening ceremony of handing over of the Supervision Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system equipment to the BWO (Basin Water Management Administration) was held in Syr Darya. This control system of Kyrgyz company Sigma will provide automatic operation and management of water distribution and allocation in the Syr Darya River Basin.

Uzbekistan continues to cooperate with Japan Agency for International Development (JICA), which presented the special computer equipment and reagents to the Main Hydro-Meteorological Committee for the recording of the environmental pollution level.

Both countries, Uzbekistan and Russia are interested in creation of the International Soviet for HydroMeteorology. The development in the sphere of drought consequence reduction is a plan to be realized in the nearest future.

U.S. Suppliers

Under the U.S. Agency for International Development, Uzbek specialists for the Main Hydro-Meteorological Committee were granted equipment from the American company “Global Imaging”, which provides the automatic receiving and processing of the information from the meteorological satellites to the earth’s surface. This newly installed system allows for the preparation of certain analysis and forecasts of the level of water in rivers and avert drought.


User market segmentation

The wastewater technology is a State-controlled sector. The National Committee for environmental control is responsible for management and development of this industry. The problem of wastewater treatment system is the largest problem in Uzbekistan. The dumping of contaminates in adjacent soils and superficial waters has to the spreading of different diseases. On the territory of the republic there are 43 enterprises, of which are used more than 80 accumulators of large capacity industrial waste. These companies are occupying about 22 thousands hectares.

The total capacity of all accumulators is estimated in 1,25 cubic km.Overwhelming (92 %) majority of these objects are located on the territory of such industrial advanced and high populated areas, as Tashkent, Fergana, Samarkand, and also Navoi, where large enterprises of chemical and oil-chemical industry, mining companies, color and black metallurgy are concentrated, that generates large volumes of pollutants. Determinate the amount of volume of ground water and surface water potentially contaminated by industrial solid waste is not accurately reported.

The major industries, which generate wastewater, are the following:
 - Building industry – 5%
 - Light and food industry – 3%
 - Chemical industry – 38%
 - Extracting and processing complex – 25%
 - Metallurgy – 18%
 - Energetic – 11%

Environmental impact of waste
The significant part of waste is ecologically dangerous, because it contains substances, which have dangerous properties, such as Tashkent plant for brick production, Bustonlik glassworks, Bekabad Metallurgy plant, Bekabad Cement Combine, Chirchik Chemical Combine (high reactionary ability, harmfulness etc.) and they are really dangerous to health of people or harmful to environment.

More than a half of such objects are located in such valleys as Fergana, Chirchic, Ahangaran, and Pskem with local highland-valley air circulation. The products of dusting, evaporation, burning are spread by air to large distances. This products (combustible means, industry chemicals) pollute air, soil and vegetative cover, bring in secondary pollution to water basin, and as well they are harmful to population and animal world.

Stores of liquid waste are located in the lowered forms of a relief, frequently near settlements or on the territory of enterprises that are situated in industrial cities, and also near bodies of water or water reserves. These stores are constantly working sources of pollution and underground and ground waters are filtering them. The water reserves have been placement for multiple tons of waste, which occupy large land areas (often valued irrigated) and also cause physical in the terrain

Utilization of waste in the manufacturing industry
The development of process of involving in the turnover of long stored waste assumes the decision of a two-uniform problem - protection of environment and expansion of raw base. Currently, in the republic saves approximately 4.6 million tons of slugs from thermal power stations, theist is used for loosening of soil, filling up of drainage collectors and strengthening of dams, in road construction, manufacturing of slag-blocks and in cement. A portion of waste from phosphor-gyps (approximately more than 67 million tons), is used for manufacture of organic-mineral fertilizers, building materials for constructions. As a whole in the republic the recycling industry for the utilization of waste for manufacture and consumption has not been created yet.

The territory of the republic work more than 230 urban and village ranges for the storage of household waste, on which annually is stored about 30 million cubic meters of trash.

The ranges of household waste, basically, are not studied or recorded in design documents, complex geographical studies, hydro-geological and other conditions of square of waste warehousing.

Practically on all ranges the sanitary rules and ecological requirements of warehousing, neutralization of waste are not observed. Most difficult conditions for utilization and neutralization of waste have been created in the large cities of the republic and in Tashkent. Annually, about 1,5 million tons of household waste is generated in Tashkent. Tashkent trash-processing factory does not work, and the household wastes of city are taken out by special transport to 2 sites, which also do not meet established standards.


Business practices

The Government of Uzbekistan generally welcomes joint-venture initiatives and is interested in new technologies. It welcomes any interest from foreign companies by offering tariff exemption for tariffs on imported equipment. Some of environmental equipment purchases can be funded through the International organization projects, which were mentioned in section A.

Regulations and technical requirements

U.S. Companies are advised to work through a country distributor or agent. Detailed marketing surveys should be prepared before launching of a product. U.S. firms can gain a competitive advantage over European and NIS competitors with new advanced technologies and competitive prices.

All imported equipment must confirm to the requirements set by the State Committee on Equipment Control. In addition, custom authorities require all the foreign importers to submit a certificate issued by the manufacturer attesting that the equipment complies with international and U.S. or European safety and technical standards. All projects for the development of the wastewater treatment system are included in the Regional Environmental Action Plan for 2001-2005.

For additional information, please direct inquiries to:

The Commercial Service
American Embassy
Ms. Tyrena Holley, Senior Commercial Officer
Ms. Tatyana Isaeva, Commercial Assistant
International mailing address:
41 Buyuk Turon Street, 3rd Floor,
Tashkent 700000 Uzbekistan
Tel.: (99871) 120-67-05
Fax: (99871) 120-66-92

U.S. mailing address:
Commercial Service
Department of State
7110 Tashkent Place
Washington, DC 20521-7110

Goskompriroda / Ministry of the Environment
13A U. Nosira Street
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Tel.: (998) 712 55-04-23
Fax: (998) 712 55-23-89

The State Committee for nature Protection
7, A. Kadiry street
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Tel.: (998) 712 41-30-80/410442
Fax: (998) 712 41-39-90/415633

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