Conference reviews progress in water supply and sanitation goals

Asia Plus/Nozim Kalandarov

The International High-Level Conference on the midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action "Water for Life", 2005-2015 took place in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan during 8-10 June, 2010.

Representatives from over 50 countries, 50 international organizations, as well as ministers of 20 countries, two deputy prime ministers, ambassadors and representatives of international and regional organizations, financial institutions, NGOs, academic and business agencies attended the event.

This is the third in a series of conferences being conducted in Tajikistan on water supply and sanitation issues. The first conference in 2005 focused on the problem of trans-boundary waters and their sharing, and the second in 2008 was about disaster management in Tajikistan.

The latest conference consisted of 6 round tables covering the whole range of issues, including water policy, water quality, cross-border use of water resources and adaptation to natural disasters, and integrated water resources management.

The Republic of Tajikistan is rich in water resources. More than 800 billion cubic meters of fresh water is accumulated in the country’s glaciers and lakes. Every year the country forms some 64 billion cubic meters of drainage basin, which represents 55% of potential water sources across Central Asia.

From emerging in the country of river flow, only 15% is used for internal purposes, and the rest of the flow enters the lower reaches of the country, which is used mainly for irrigation. More than 40% of the country’s population has no access to safe drinking water, and in some rural areas provision of potable water remains a major problem.

WHO estimates that more than two billion people worldwide suffer from shortage of drinking water. By 2015 more than half of the world population is forecast to live in countries with chronic water shortages. Fresh water is fast becoming a scarce natural resource: in the 20th century, water consumption increased 7 times while the world population has increased only three-fold.