Efficient Use of Water Project

The Kyrgyz name of the Efficient Use of Water Project is "SEP". This word has two meanings in Kyrgyz language which can both be linked to a project on efficient water management: First, "СЭП" means "spreading water", and second, "СЭП" is the word for the dowry of the bride at a wedding (sustainable resource management in analogy to the dowry as the basis for a solid and long-lasting marriage).


SEP project started implementation in 2009 with a pilot phase and is currently in the last year of Phase I (2010-2012). The concept for the project was based on extensive studies of the current water situation in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, ongoing projects and government initiatives, interviews with key resource persons and farmers. All information and recommendations were pointing in one direction: water is a key issue for farmers and a major constraint to increase yield and thus income from farm activities. At the same time allocation of water resources is uneven, overuse of water and severe water shortage co-exist along channels and even within villages. There are numerous projects investing in the irrigation water sector, mainly by supporting rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure and organisation of water allocation at different levels, water management at field level is hardly or only marginally addressed. Thus SEP was designed as a small pilot project complementary to interventions with existing stakeholders involved in the management of irrigation water exploring opportunities to support water users in managing water resources in agriculture on plot level.

Project Goal and Objective

The goal of the project focuses on the fundamental need of water for rural livelihoods as one of the pre-conditions to improve income and food security. The project goal of the phase I of SEP projects thus reads: “SEP contributes to the reduction of poverty through improved income and food security of the rural population in the pilot area depending on water resources for their livelihoods.”

The objectives of the project: “Farmers in pilot areas are able to take informed decisions on adaptation and adoption of improved techniques on efficient water use to increase water and crop productivity in view of adaptation to climate change effects.”

The objective of the project points out that it lays in the responsibility of the farmers in pilot areas to efficiently use water resources and to adapt and adopt improved techniques which are introduced by the SEP project.

Though project interventions over 2009 – 2011 which were targeted at capacity building of farmers on efficient use of water were successful, this seemed to be not sufficient to enable farmers to adopt the advanced technologies for the sake of water saving. Thus end of 2011 a project strategy review mission was conducted to redirect the strategic direction of SEP for 2012. As a result of the mission the second objective of the project was added to the log frame of SEP, which states “Pilot WUAs have improved their governance structure and their management capacities which lead to better services for farmers.”

Project Intervention Strategy and Approach

To reach its’ objectives SEP is aimed at various levels intervention starting from plot level of farmers, further to the level of WUA (staff - murabs and management) and finally up to the canal level (WUA – WUA, WUA – RWD, WUA – A/O).

Drip irrigation component

SEP started a component “Market testing of profitability of drip irrigation systems (DIS) sale at all levels (of participants) of the value chain and efficiency of using drip irrigation technology at the farm level are assessed” in Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

The component is supported by iDE (International Development Enterprises) with funds from SDC global water project “Scaling up of Productive Water Use”. Demand by farmers for the drip irrigation systems imported from India and China is being tested on local market under the drip irrigation component of SEP project.

Drip irrigation is one of the most progressive and efficient methods of irrigation. Water is delivered to the plants through pipes and individual drippers which allow irrigating plants directly to their root zone with minimal losses by evaporation and percolation. Application of drip irrigation technology allows up to 50% water saving compared to other irrigation methods.

Project Intervention Strategy and Approach

Drip irrigation is a new technology and new product in the country as such. There is no market existing for the systems of drip irrigation and there is no technical capacities locally built up. SEP project to achieve its goal of market testing for drip irrigation systems provides support to facilitate establishment and functioning of a supply chain of drip irrigation systems starting from the manufacturers up to the clients/farmers. Project support to the main actors of supply chain – the Wholesaler Agro Bazaar Cooperative and the Retailers.

Partners and Supporters:

Agricultural service providers:
  • Rural Advisory Services Jalalabad
  • Mehr Shavkat
  • Public Foundation Agrobilim
Agricultural input suppliers and traders:
  • Agricultural Service Cooperative Agro Bazar
  • Agroline Ltd.
  • Mol Tushum Cooperative
Local non-governmental organizations:
  • Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users
  • Union of WUA of Kyrgyzstan
  • LESIC Yug
  • State Department for Water Management and Melioration (under the Ministry of Agriculture)
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
  • International Development Enterprises
  • Farmers
  • Water User Asssociations
  • Partner organizations

Contact us: SEP project

HELVETAS Programme Office:
7 Liniya Str. house #65, Bishkek, 720044
Tel: +996 (312) 214 572/73/74/75
Fax: +996 (312) 214 578
website: www.helvetas.kg

Field Offices:
Jamashova str. house #1, Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan
Tel.: +996 (0) 3722 52012
Fax: +996 (0) 3722 52012

Lomonosova str. house #23, Osh, Kyrgyzstan
Tel.: +996 (0) 3222 21625
Fax: +996 (0) 3222 21625

Saving water through drip irrigation