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Version 2016

General summary - Eastern Europe region

Introduction Geography, climate and population Economy, agriculture and food security
Water resources Water uses Irrigation Trends Legislative and Institutional framework
Environment and health Prospects Summary tables Main sources of information


The seven countries forming the Eastern Europe region are determined by the Regional distribution adopted by AQUASTAT, following the geographical regions given in FAO's Water Report 23 "Review of world water resources by country" (2003). The seven countries are Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine that all were part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) before their independence in 1991.

In the previous detailed survey on the countries of the Former Soviet Union (1997), Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine were grouped into the Eastern Europe subregion, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the Baltic States subregion and the Russian Federation was considered alone another subregion. That survey distinguished two more subregions: Caucasus with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and Central Asia with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In AQUASTAT, the Caucasus subregion has now been included in the Middle East region, mainly because of the transboundary water resources shared principally with other countries in the Middle East region, and Central Asia is considered to be a region on its own, including also Afghanistan, as indicated also in the regional division in Water Report 23.

The present survey of Eastern Europe does not consider subregions. The main reason is that the Russian Federation is huge compared with the other countries, with an area covering 94 percent of the area of the region and renewable water resources accounting for 97 of the renewable water resources of the region, making a division in subregions somehow meaningless.

This regional overview presents distinguishing features arising from the new data collected on a national scale for issues addressed in the seven country profiles. The interest of this new survey lies in the updating of data and in the trends during the last ten years.


Country profiles

The country profiles have been prepared in English. They describe the state of water resources, water uses and agricultural water management in the respective countries, particularities of each country, as well as problems met in the development of the water resources in general and irrigation in particular. Irrigation trends in the country and the prospects for water management in agriculture as described in the literature are summarized. The country profiles have been standardized and organized into the following sections:

  • Geography, climate and population
  • Economy, agriculture and food security
  • Water resources
  • Water use
  • Irrigation and drainage
  • Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
  • Environment and health
  • Prospects for agricultural water management
  • Main sources of information

Standardized tables are used for each country. A hyphen (-) indicates that no information is available. As most information is available only for a limited number of years, the tables present the most recent reliable information available at the time of their preparation and indicate the year to which it refers. In the online AQUASTAT Main Database, however, all available information is accessible, both for earlier years and for more recent years if received after the preparation of the country tables.

The information in the country profiles is much more detailed than that in the previous AQUASTAT survey of the region. In order to establish a more complete picture of the agricultural water sector in each country, it addresses issues related to water and to irrigation that were not previously included. Some issues have been added in response to user demand.

Data collection, processing and reliability

The main sources of information were:

  • National policies and strategies, and water resources and irrigation master plans
  • National reports, yearbooks and statistics
  • Reports from FAO and other projects
  • International surveys
  • Results and publications from national and international research centres and universities
  • The Internet

Furthermore, the following sources systematically provide certain data:

  • FAOSTAT. This is the only source used for variables of area (total, arable land and permanent crops) and population (total, rural, urban, female and male). FAOSTAT data on areas are provided every year by the countries through the FAO representations. As far as population is concerned, it should be noted that the original source for total, urban and rural population data is the United Nations Population Division, as indicated on the FAOSTAT website.
  • World Development Indicators. This is the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data on development. This source provides the data on gross domestic product (GDP) and value added in agriculture.
  • The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for water supply and sanitation. This is a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which provides access to data on improved water sources.
  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This provides the data on the Human Development Index (HDI) and Gender Inequality Index (GII).

In total, more than 50 variables have been selected to be presented in the national tables that are included in the country profiles. They are standardized and ordered in categories corresponding to the various sections of the profile: basic statistics and population, renewable water resources, water use, irrigation and drainage. See the online glossary for the definitions of the variables. Additional tables have been added to the country profiles where information is available, especially in order to specify regional or river basin data.

In most cases, a critical analysis of the information is required in order to ensure the general coherence of information collected for a given country. Where several sources result in divergent or contradictory information, preference is given to information collected at national or sub-national level rather than at regional or world level. Moreover, except in the case of evident errors, official sources are privileged. As regards shared water resources, the comparison of information between countries has made it possible to verify and complete the data concerning the flows of transboundary rivers and to ensure coherence at a river basin level. This information has been added more in detail in the country water resources sheets, which can be accessed both from the top menu of the country profiles and from the water resources page.

In spite of these precautions, the accuracy, reliability and frequency with which information is collected vary considerably according to the region, the country and the category of information. These considerations are discussed in the profiles.

Most of the trend tables in this regional analysis show the period 2002–2012 as the period between the two surveys for Eastern Europe as a whole. However, the country data show the exact year of the value. Even though the previous detailed survey dates back to 1995-1997, for most countries also later data are available in AQUASTAT on water uses and irrigation and therefore the 10-year period 2002-2012 was decided upon, rather than 1995-2005 or 1995-2012.

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