Possibilities and prospects for the practical application of an improved Drought Early Warning System discussed in Tashkent.

On October 23, 2018, a seminar on “Improved Drought Early Warning System: possibilities and prospects for practical application” was held at the Poytaht Business Center, initiated within the framework of the joint UNDP/GEF and Uzhydromet project “Developing climate resilience of farming communities in the drought prone parts of Uzbekistan”

Over the past two decades, Uzbekistan has experienced several extreme droughts, which resulted in the death of 50% to 75% of the crop. During the severe drought of 2000-2001. cereal production fell to 14%, other crops - to 45-75%. Damage is estimated at about $ 130 million per year. Climate change scenarios predict that the frequency of droughts in Uzbekistan and their intensity will only increase.

In 2017, within the framework of the project activities, the entire meteorological network of Karakalpakstan, previously operated in the manual data collection mode, was automated. As noted by the organizers of the workshop, this allowed for improving the system of early warnings and ensuring preparedness for the consequences of extreme hydrometeorological events.

The drought early warning system makes it possible to determine the projected amount of water resources available in the current year in upper reaches of mountain rivers of Uzbekistan located in the zone of formation of natural runoff, as well as in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River - a zone of intensive water use for various needs, primarily for irrigation of agricultural land. Forecasting of the water content of the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River is carried out for various periods - in January, February and March.

“The role of the DEWS system consists primarily in early warning of the possibility of low water and drought in the region not only of key ministries and departments of Karakalpakstan, but also in bringing long-term water availability forecasts to end users – rural households and farmers.

For this purpose, it is necessary to expand the access of representatives of local communities to long-term water forecasts of the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River through the media, extension service centers established in Karakalpakstan, and the Uzhydromet Drought Monitoring Center” – said Aleksandr Pak, Research Fellow of Hydrometeorological Research Institute (HRI) under Uzhydromet.

Potential users of water content forecasts of the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River through this system can be decision makers (local administrations, line ministries and agencies related to the water sector), local communities (farmers and dekhkan farms, associations of water users and rural households) of Karakalpakstan.

Among the participants of the seminar are representatives of line ministries, departments, NGOs, foundations, research institutes, educational institutions, as well as the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, “Syrdarya” Basin Water Management Organization, the Council of Farmers, Dehkan Farms and Owners of Household Lands, and others.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Uzbekistan assists in developing climate resilience of farms in Karakalpakstan, the region most exposed to drought risks. The project is implemented in partnership with the Center of Hydrometeorological Services at the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Uzbekistan and is funded by the Adaptation Fund of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.