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Prospects for agricultural water management
Small-scale irrigation is developing without any subsidies from the government. Groundwater irrigation is likely to increase in the future for small-scale irrigation schemes, but only in western Georgia where the shallow aquifers are located.
Future irrigation development is expected to be on a very limited scale, particularly for large-scale and medium-scale schemes, mainly because of the high opportunity cost and the shortage of funds. Flow regulation through dams would be needed for these schemes, but there is competition between hydropower and irrigation.
Drainage works might be carried out in the future, particularly in the Kolkhety lowland, with attention to ecological and environmental analysis. The eradication of malaria in this area would be one of the goals of these drainage works. However, opponents of this project propose halting land reclamation in the Kolkhety lowland and the creation of a national park.
Donors and international financial institutions have developed projects for the rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage. The “irrigation and drainage community development project”, which started in 2002, is funded by the World Bank.
Finally, legislative acts need to be passed to ensure biodiversity protection and conservation, as well as to envisage the rational use of land resources (forests, water, mineral deposits) during territorial-spatial development planning (Government of Georgia, 2002).