Keywords: water management, water bureaucracies, Central Asia, transboundary, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, transformation, regional cooperation, conflict, water resources, water wars, hydropolitics, politics
Water sector in Central Asia: slow transformation and potential for cooperation
Since independence, Central Asian nations are going through political, economical and social changes. The transition also has had longterm impact on water sector, once second largest user of the state funds during the Soviet times. After the independence, growing economic crisis, limited funding capacities of national states have reduced inflow of finances into the water sector. This in turn reduced influence and role of water bureaucrats in nation building scene. The reforms in agriculture and other sectors of economy have seriously changed situation in water sector. Two out of five countries have kept Ministry of Water Resources as separate entity, in one country it merged with agriculture but still have separate department, in two countries water management department is part of Environmental Agency. Although those changes in water sector took place at the national level have far reaching impact on regional level. In the last few years, the issues of water management in Central Asia become a political issue. Role of technocratwater managers reduced from active agenda setters to observers. This paper highlights importance of the integrated approach to water sector reforms which will enhance efficiency of water resources management hence increased likelihood of the cooperation among the region's countries on water management.