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Georgia is part of:
Caucasus · Europe & CIS · Western Asia ·
Water Basins of Georgia:
Black Sea · Coruh · Kura-Araks · Psou · Sulak · Terek ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Tbilisi
Neighbouring Countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey
Total Area 69,700 km2
  - Water 0 km2 (0.00%) / 0 m2/ha
  - Land 69,700 km2
Coastline 310 km
Population 4,630,841 (66.4 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.763 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 40.4 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $13,280 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $5,000
National UN Presence FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WB
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 10,664 km2 (15.3%)
     - Arable 8,022 km2 (11.51%)
     - Permanent Crops 2,642 km2 (3.79%)
     - Irrigated 4,690 km2
  - Non cultivated 1,496,402 km2 (84.7%)
Average Annual RainfallD 1026 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 63.3 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 3.61 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 59%
  - For Domestic Use 20%
  - For Industrial Use 21%
  - Per Capita 765 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 82%
     - Urban population 96%
     - Rural population 67%
  - Improved Sanitation 94%
     - Urban population 96%
     - Rural population 91%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps
> Sector Assessment | Sector Coordination | Donor Profile

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Type & Date Short Description Link
3 October 2008 Post-conflict Georgia: water chlorine increased FIND OUT MORE

Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Georgia has the richest water resources in the South Caucasus. There are two main river basins: the Black Sea basin in the west and the Caspian Sea basin in the east. There are 43 dams, most in the east and used primarily for irrigation of fruit trees and grapes, pasture and fodder crops, vegetables, potatoes, wheat, maize and sunflowers and hydropower rather than for potable water supply.

In 2005, 66% of Georgia’s water sources were from surface water and 34% were from groundwater. Irrigation and livestock generated the most withdrawals at 65%, whereas 22% went to municipal use and 13% to industry. Ninety-three percent of the irrigation systems are surface irrigation and 7% are localized irrigation, in which water is distributed via a network of pipes. Water distribution is uneven throughout the country due to the range of precipitation in the humid west and semi-arid east. In the eastern region, droughts are common and irrigation is necessary.

Despite its rich water deposits, Georgia is still experiencing difficulties in supplying the population with safe drinking water, especially in rural areas. The underground water deposits remain the main source of drinking water, providing 90% of the water supply system. Currently 84% of urban and 15.7% of the rural population is centrally supplied with drinking water.

The water sector suffers from contamination as a result of the deterioration of the sewage system and agricultural wastes, a deficit of clean drinking water, and low sanitary and technical standards of the water supply system. Sixty percent of existing water pipelines have deteriorated, and sanitary and technical conditions are unsatisfactory. Due to network damage, large quantities of water are lost: in 1999, 40% of the household water supply was lost. Water supply in the east also suffers from severe to moderate saline contamination due to a dilapidated irrigation system.

Although there is a lack of current reliable data on surface water quality, various studies and expert' estimates indicate that major rivers and tributaries in both the Kura-Araks and Black Sea Basins are polluted, predominantly by municipal wastewater discharges. The Kura River is polluted downstream from the cities of Borjomi, Gori, Tbilisi and Rustavi. One of the major concerns within the Kura-Araks River Basin is the pollution of river Mashavera, downstream from Madneluli, where there is a copper mining industry. In the Black Sea Basin, the Rioni River is considerably polluted downstream from Kutaisi, a major urban area in Western Georgia, and Poti near the Black Sea.

The quality of drinking water is of particular concern in Georgia. In total approximately 18% to 24% of samples collected from central water systems in the years 2000 and 2001 violated Georgian norms for chemical and microbiological constituents. Samples from 13 towns and cities exceeded microbiological norms by 50% or more.

Tenure Issues

Water is the property of the state and under the control of the national government.

The Law on Water provides for the licensing of water use and discharge of pollutants. Licenses for municipal water systems and irrigation are for 25 years, and those for wastewater discharge are for 3 to 5 years. As an exception to this, facilities in place before 1999 operate under a system of allowable limits. Under both systems, users pay a fee to withdraw clean water and to discharge wastewater. If discharge is above allowable limits, users pay a proportionally higher fine. Self-reporting is used with minimal government oversight. Requirements for permits for water withdrawal have recently been suspended.

As of 2003, no municipal wastewater treatment plants were operating under a license. The 27 industrial facilities under license represented only 5% of the total wastewater generated by industry.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Legal Framework

Although Georgia has no comprehensive national water policy, over a dozen laws relate to the management and protection of Georgia’s water resources and related environmental issues; the most important of these is the 1997 Law on Water (as amended 2000). The Law on Water governs pollution control, protection of drinking water, licensing of water use and discharge, categorization of and protection of resources, and flood control, among other topics. The Law on Water states that water protection is a major element of environmental protection for Georgian citizens; drinking-water has the highest priority; both groundwater and surface water are under state control; management of water varies depending on its hydrologic importance; and pollution is restricted. Multiple legislative orders, decrees, and regulations supplement this law.

A 2006 draft concept paper on a national water policy identifies the government’s primary goal as ensuring effective water management within the next 25 years. In addition, the paper identifies the following priorities: maintaining ecological value and functions of water resources; maintaining quality and quantity; ensuring access to safe drinking water; and maintaining the hydrological regime and undertaking flood and drought-prevention activities.

Institutional Framework

Soviet-era institutional arrangements for water supply and sanitation remain unchanged. Water utilities are state agencies and the majority of funding comes from state budgets.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection is responsible for implementing the Law on Water, although other ministries play roles in specific areas. In conjunction with the Centre for Monitoring and Prognostication, the Ministry is responsible for assessing the quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater.

The Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development is tasked with developing a water sector policy, setting water service standards, and mobilizing financing for the sector. The National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission has been responsible for approving water tariffs.

The Ministry of Labor, Health, and Social Affairs sets standards for drinking water, recreational use, and wastewater used for irrigation.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, with the Department of Melioration and Water Resources, is responsible for planning, monitoring, and promoting irrigated agriculture.

The Ministry of Finance sets water use and emission rates that are incorporated into licenses issued by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection.

The effectiveness of these institutions is constrained due to their lack of basic tools to monitor compliance. Additionally, government has no authority to conduct on-site inspections unless by court order.

With support of the EU, the Government of Georgia is creating a single comprehensive legislative framework governing water resources. The government is also developing guidelines for water and wastewater tariffs that will promote economic use of resources and meet financial obligations, including full cost-recovery and profitability

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities

Donor Interventions

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has authorized a US $30 million loan for a Municipal Services Development Project, scheduled through 2013; the project is intended to increase the effectiveness of municipal governments in identifying, planning, delivering, and recovering costs of municipal infrastructure and services, including water. The total cost of the proposed project is US $41.5 million, which includes central and municipal government support.

The ADB is also providing technical assistance under the US $863,000 project, Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Strategy and Regulatory Framework, intended to support development of a water and wastewater policy framework.

As part of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)’s support through 2011, the Regional Infrastructure Development Activity rehabilitated the water supply network of the major port city of Poti; related works by partner donors are ongoing. Rehabilitation of the water supply systems also is underway in two other areas.

Between 2000 and 2002, USAID implemented the South Caucasus Water Management Project to strengthen cooperation among water agencies at the local, national, and regional levels, and demonstrate integrated water resources management (FAO 2008a).


Recently updated articles on Georgia
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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Georgia

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

  1. Transboundary River Management Phase II for the Kura River Basin - Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan ‎(3,920 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin - SIDA/UNDP component ‎(3,645 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe ‎(3,001 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Regional Partnership for Prevention of Transboundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River ‎(3,553 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. Regional Study of Impacts of Climate Change in the South Caucasus ‎(2,003 views) . . Katy.norman
  6. USAID - Water Management in the South Caucasus ‎(4,299 views) . . WikiBot
  7. Public Involvement and Establishing of an NGO Forum in the Kura-Aras River Basin ‎(7,237 views) . . WikiBot
  8. NATO Peace for Science Program - Cooperative River Monitoring, Armenia/Azerbaijan/Georgia 2003-2006 ‎(2,386 views) . . WikiBot
  9. International Black Sea Day ‎(3,974 views) . . WikiBot
  10. Control of eutrophication, hazardous substances and related measures for rehabilitating the Black Sea ecosystem ‎(7,911 views) . . WikiBot
  11. Capacity and Community Building for Industrial Water Stewardship in the Danube/Black Sea region ‎(3,438 views) . . WikiBot
  12. Sustainable Management of Aquifers in the South Caucasus Region ‎(2,913 views) . . WikiBot
  13. Reducing Transboundary Degradation in the Kura/Aras River Basin ‎(9,193 views) . . WikiBot
  14. Khanchali Lake for People and Biodiversity ‎(2,392 views) . . WikiBot
  15. Fostering Dialogue between Riparian States for Development and Establishment of Initial Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Increased Cooperation and Joint Management of the Kura-Aras River Basin ‎(3,019 views) . . WikiBot

Case studies in or about Georgia

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Georgia


5 most recently updated publications on Georgia
  1. Water and Sewerage Utilities in the Republic of Georgia: Operational and Financial Performance Indicators ‎(4,008 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Water Quantity and Quality in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia ‎(3,327 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Georgia National Assessment Report for Sustainable Development ‎(3,435 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Georgia Country Profile for Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,287 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. OECD-EAP Task Force - Report on Developing and Implementing a Financial Strategy for Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Georgia and Carrying out the Feasibility Analysis ‎(2,269 views) . . WikiBot

5 most popular publications on Georgia
  1. Water and Sewerage Utilities in the Republic of Georgia: Operational and Financial Performance Indicators ‎(4,008 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Georgia National Assessment Report for Sustainable Development ‎(3,435 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Water Quantity and Quality in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia ‎(3,327 views) . . Katy.norman
  4. Georgia Country Profile for Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,287 views) . . Katy.norman
  5. OECD-EAP Task Force - Report on Developing and Implementing a Financial Strategy for Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Georgia and Carrying out the Feasibility Analysis ‎(2,269 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Georgia

Who is Who

People working in Georgia
  1. Claire Dupont ‎(2,921 views)
  2. Mary.Matthews ‎(1,255 views)
  3. Esther Pozo ‎(3,363 views)
  4. Yegor.volovik ‎(4,972 views)
  5. Tim.turner ‎(5,263 views)
  6. Malkhaz.Adeishvili ‎(1,297 views)
  7. Mariam.shotadze ‎(3,968 views)

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Georgia

Organizations working in Georgia
  1. Caucasus Research Resource Centers ‎(2,947 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Georgia


See also

External Resources

UNDP Georgia

UNDP Kura-Araks water project

FAO/Aquastat Georgia

UNEP Grid Arendal Georgia

UNEP/GRID-Arendal: State of the Environment in Georgia

Water (1996)

Intutute Georgia

UNECE Environmental Performance Review for Georgia (2003)

CIA World Factbook Georgia


WHO Statistics Water & Sanitation

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