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Prospects for agricultural water management
Structural reforms on irrigated land are needed to maintain food security in Kazakhstan, to ensure a high level of the population’s self-sufficiency in agricultural production. This includes increasing economic performance, meeting environmental requirements and introducing water-saving technologies. Restructuring of irrigated cultivated areas consists of reducing cotton and cereals and increasing the share of oilseeds and legumes, including perennial grasses. In parallel an increase in productivity in rainfed areas, where most of the cereals are grown, is important.
Further socio-economic development and the solution of various ecological problems will be greatly determined by a water policy that addresses development and control of water management. Radical economic reforms taking place – including in the area of water management – also make specific demands on water policy (UNDP, 2004).
The aim of the national water-use strategy is to first protect water and implement efficient water-saving technologies in all spheres of water management. This will decrease the volume of water consumed as well as the amount of sewage discharged. National water conservation plans should be systematic for all aspects of water use, thus creating a basis for transition to integrated management of water resources. The main objective of a regional water strategy and policy is the implementation of agreed national activities for preservation of the resource potential of the river system and its ecological security.
Rapprochement between neighbouring countries for national policies and strategies, for protection and use of transboundary waterways, should be based on the general provisions found in international conventions, and the principles concerning use and protection of transboundary waterways. National strategies for the protection and use of water resources should stipulate a transition to ecosystem control over water resources, unification of criteria and purpose-oriented indicators of water quality, application of concerted methods of data collection and exchange of information. A regional basin organization should be created to coordinate all the above and to promote interstate cooperation and the pursute of a common water policy in the river basin (UNDP, 2004).