The Uzbekistan Ministry of Water Resources has appointed SMEC as Project Implementation Consultant for the Climate Adaptative Water Resources Management project. The project will combine investment from the Republic of Uzbekistan government and the Asian Development Bank to improve climate resilience in the Aral Sea Basin.

This project aims to improve sector policies, strengthen institutional capacity, and finance modernization of selected irrigation subprojects, consistent with the needs for climate change adaption. Other objectives include the improvement of on-farm water management practices, introduction of new technology, and introduction of new practices to increase water productivity.


Climate change, river diversions, over-irrigation, and poor drainage has had drastic consequences for the Aral Sea. Only 9% of the Aral Sea Basin water resources are found in Uzbekistan, so there is a heavy reliance on the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers that originate upstream in Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. The shrinkage in the water supply has been exacerbated by irreversible environmental degradation, including soil salinization and desertification. Approximately 51% of irrigated land in Uzbekistan is affected by salinity.


Two core sub projects: Bukhara (Amu Darya River Basin) and Surkhandarya (Zarafshan River basin)


Working with joint venture partner Annexure Financial Solutions Limited, SMEC will focus on the Amu Darya and Zarafshan River basins to create improved and modernised climate-resilient irrigation solutions. SMEC will work with the Republic of Uzbekistan Ministry of Water Resources to:

  • Modernise the main canal water supply systems to improve measurement, control and conveyance within existing systems
  • Modernise inter-farm irrigation and drainage systems and on-farm water management, including physical improvements for land and water management at the farm level and application of technologies for increased water productivity
  • Strengthen policies and institutions for climate adaptive and suitable water resources management, including strategic support and capacity building to Ministry of Water Resources and its provincial, basin and district agencies, and water consumers associations

The scope of works includes:

  • Inception report
  • National feasibility study
  • Detailed design and bidding documents for civil works
  • Due diligence report
  • Construction supervision
  • Mid-term report
  • Final report

The project will help strengthen policy and institutional capacity for sustainable water resources management. It will also allow irrigation systems to adapt to more frequent water shortages and enable water users to cope better with climate variability. With 40% of the Uzbekistan community working in agriculture, improved water resources management is critical for sustained economic growth. This project is expected to be undertaken over a seven-year period and the team is working towards a target completion date in 2028.