Smart Waters

Duration: October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2020

Budget: $9.5 million (regional)

Implementing Partner: Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC)

Key Partners:

Activity Locations: Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

The main goal of the Smart Waters project is to address the knowledge dis-lock in the region in water sector, build working relations among water managers and specialists, and demonstrate the potential of the basin management approach and cooperation with the academia.

It connects policy-level water management discussions with practical implications, and expands opportunities for key water managers, students, researchers, policy makers, and end users to network and share information on climate sensitive transboundary water use.


The project focuses on building a cadre of professionals in Central Asia and Afghanistan who are capable of managing shared water resources to maximize the economic value of water equitably over the long term in the face of climate change and other pressures, understand the value of such practices, and trust each other.

Capacity Building & Academic Exchange enhances water sector professionals’ potential in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Under this component, the project trains a new generation of water managers capable of applying integrated water resource management (IWRM) principles in their everyday work, and using science-based instruments in routine water management. The project will provide scholarships for IWRM Master of Science program at a university in the region and develop short-term courses for selected water managers.

Networking & Cooperation supports dialogue among water organizations, water professionals and academic communities in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The project will assist in developing additional small basin councils along transboundary rivers in Central Asia. It will also facilitate joint learning process in the classroom, collaboration in the field, and interaction at international and regional events.

Promotion & Support of integrated water resource management (IWRM) promotes a wider acceptance of and use of key IWRM principles on all levels of water management in Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Basin Planning introduces long-term planning in Central Asia and Afghanistan at the river basin level. The project will organize training modules for basin organizations to teach them to prepare their own basin management plans. Experts will participate in demo-tours to successful, small transboundary basin council sites in Central Asia to show climate resilient, integrated water resource management in practice.


  • Water managers in Central Asia and Afghanistan understand and apply sustainable IWRM on policy and applied levels.
  • Networking, collaboration and trust among future water managers across Central Asia and Afghanistan have increased.
  • National water ministries apply IWRM principles and provide improved support to Basin Management Organization.
  • Basin planning principles in selected basins have improved.