A 100-year-old Turkmenistan reservoir gets new life

farmers

In the Konegummez village of the Ahal region in Turkmenistan lies the historical 100-year-old reservoir “Ata Eke”.

Named after the first settler of the village, its significance is hard to underestimate. The reservoir collects water from the mountain spring and distributes it to the farming fields of the local residents. This and its historical nature are the reasons why people formed a settlement in this area.

Locals here grow fruit and vegetables, such as apples, pears, tomatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers.  But the main source of income is cattle breeding.  All of this requires a consistent source of water, which was becoming increasingly problematic.

Highlights

  • 384 square meters of reservoir were rehabilitated.
  • The rehabilitation benefits 300 local residents, including 30 families.

The reservoir had been badly polluted with weeds and the infestation caused a rapid loss of water - up to 50%. In July 2015, there was no water in reservoir and residents had to find alternative sources for irrigation. But climate change conditions, such as reduced rains and increased air temperatures, led to a decrease in the availability of drinking and irrigation water.

The local residents of Konegummez formed a water users’ group called “Cheshme” to address the problems with the reservoir.  “Lately, its condition was very bad, and our farming areas shrank,” explained Annageldi Halymberdiev, Cheshme’s leader. “Once we organized the water users’ group, we submitted a project proposal requesting assistance in reconstructing the reservoir and installing water dripping irrigation systems,”

The residents began to rehabilitate the reservoir, with the assistance of UNDP (who provided construction materials and training) and the State Committee on Environment Protection and Land Resources.  The work is part of a larger project to address climate change risks to farming across Turkmenistan, financed by the Adaptation Fund.

In 2016, local residents completed rehabilitation on two water reservoirs, Ata Eke 1 and Ata Eke 2, which together provide a volume of 384 m3. Members of the local farming association provided necessary machinery to dig the pool and delivered construction equipment, while members of the water users’ group installed drip irrigation system in the farming areas at their own expense.

With the current water accumulation speed of 4 m3/hour, the reservoir was filled within two days.

Now Ata Eke will help prevent water loss, increase farming areas to their original sizes, and benefit 300 residents of the village of Konegummez, including 30 families – members of the water users group named “Cheshme”, where farming and cattle breeding are the two main sources of income and living.

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