Financing Rural WSS in Tajikistan

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Financing Rural WSS in Tajikistan (Country background / Socio-Economic context / Water-Policy context / The State of the Water-Sector / The FEASIBLE-model / Applying the FEASIBLE-model / Baseline Scenarios / Bibliography) | Kyrgyzstan WSS Financing NPD (First Steering Group Report / ...)
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Author: Florian Schnetzer

Tajikistan is a land-locked, mountainous low income country in Central Asia, occupying a geopolitically sensitive location with borders to Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Agriculture dominates the Tajik economy, with water intensive cotton crops being the most important commodities for export. Many elements that compose the regulatory systems for the water sector in Tajikistan were established during Soviet times, often with little attention being paid to their economic and technical implications.

Currently, there is no legal framework in the form of contracts in the relations between local authorities and water utilities; there is no incentive or penalty scheme. Private entities which replaced state-owned water utilities often do not have a sufficient financial base of their own and exploit obsolete and deteriorated facilities as much as possible. So far, private operators have focused on improving collection rates and proceeds rather than on necessary reconstruction and rehabilitation of water infrastructure. Given the low income in rural areas, water users are not able to pay sufficient fees to maintain a Soviet style water supply system, and enable the proprietor to operate profitably. Functions related to the development of policy and regulation in the water sector is not assigned to a single government body. There is no coordination among agencies responsible for policy development and implementation. The regulatory legal base is insufficient and limited; there are facilities in rural areas for which no one is responsible.

In its 2006 estimates, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme assessed the total improved rural water supply to account for 48 percent coverage of total rural population. In towns with population less than 50,000 people the coverage by water supply services was very low. Quality of potable water is affected by faeces-contaminated water entering the water supply system through damaged pipelines. The average depreciation of water supply systems is 70%. Over 80% of wastewater treatment plants are out of operation, because of moral and physical wear, while the operating wastewater treatment plants are inefficient. Household connections in rural Tajikistan only accounted for 20%, whereas 45 % of rural population where connected to the sanitation system. Special attention should be paid to a very low level of provision of housing facilities with centralized water supply and wastewater collection services in rural areas, where the value of the relevant indicator does not exceed 3%. Practically every report of international organizations pays attention to a very high level of diseases, directly related to low quality of water used by population.

Parallel to the OECD case in the Kyrgyz Republic a preliminary attempt has been undertaken to apply the FEASIBLE Model in the Tajik context as well as to make first assessements of the currenct economic state of the water sector in the country. Due to reliance on information and data from a desktop research, the run of the different scenarios has been strongly contingent on assumptions. As a consequence the future modeling with Feasible requires the collection of primary or secondary data via field surveys and close collaboration with government institutions as well water utilities. Only through local collection more sound outcomes can be achieved, which would then indicate the state of the economic feasibility of certain water policies compared to the business as usual case.

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